Yes, the Blackswift is now cancelled, if you know anything about the pattern of events that take place when a project goes from public to "black"
then you can see that the Blackswift project followed the very same template.
The Path to "Black"
1. White world origins:
Gathering known technologies together, developing a platform design, applying those known technologies to the developed platform
2. Ridiculously difficult goals set:
* Goal A -
Take off under it's own power, attain a speed of Mach 6, do a barrel roll at speed.
Puleeeze! A barrel roll at Mach 6?!? Have they lost their mind? No, it is an intentionally ridiculous and unattainable goal.
* Goal B -
Develop a hybrid ramjet/scramjet.
The technology for this is no where close to being at a viable Technical Readiness Level, however - the turbo-ramjet is a 40+ year
old design that with current technology can attain the speeds required for this project.
3. Surreptitious split:
Sometime between March and May 2008 I believe there was a split in the Blackswift program.
It was at that time that the requirements for the Blackswift were intentionally changed from a doable system (a turbojet/ramjet
hybrid with a Mach 6 goal) to a ridiculously difficult system (a ramjet/scramjet hybrid). It was also at that time that bidding was opened adding
confusion to an industry that knew Blackswift was a Lockheed project through and through. Boeing pretended to jump in but no bidding actually took
4. Money/Funding Troubles:
Then came the funding troubles. Congress and DARPA basically lost interest in Blackswift because what? The technology goal of a ramjet/scramjet hybrid
was unattainable by today's technology AND
the stated goal of doing a barrel roll at Mach 6 was finally seen as being just plain
In not so quite as blunt of terms, the total stupidity of the Blackswift's goals was the reason for it's final demise. However, one only has to go
back to the time between March and May 2008 to see the smoke and mirrors switcheroo.
Is Blackswift Really Dead?
I am here to stake my reputation on the very real possibility that Blackswift is alive and well and being developed in a new oversized hangar sitting
on DOE & USAF property about 30 miles north-northwest of Indian Springs/Creech AFB.
By autumn 2009 to winter 2010 you can expect another round of bizarre "skyquakes" tearing through the skies between Nevada and the California coast.
You can expect that flight line to cross Vandenberg airspace, this way the sonic boom can be blamed on various rocket projects.
Infact, this is one of those "I told you so" moments.
I told you after the assumed split of programs in spring of 2008 that the above-board, white world version of Blackswift was doomed.
As stated in this link to a previous post a couple of pages back I told you guys how this works and when it happened.
the decoy gets cancelled, the real one goes deep black
Let's review the differences stated for the original Blackswift that went black and the secondary version with unattainable goals which was
"White" or Official version
Powerplant: pulse/scramjet hybrid (unproven, intentionally a ridiculous endeavor)
Airframe: HTV-3 research platform
Development location: Skunkworks, Langley & WPAFB
1st flight: 2012 or maybe never...
Speed: M8 +
"Black" version, now an SAP
Power plant: turbo/ramjet hybrid (a la - the SR-71's P&W J-58, been there, done that)
Airframe: HTV-3X Reconnaissance & Strike platform
Development location: Groom Lake, WPAFB
1st flight 2009-10
What's Attainable and What's Not?
The original concept for the HTV-3 Blackswift was a turbojet/ramjet combined cycle engine along the lines of the SR-71's now famous J-58's. It was
hypothesized, proposed and then accepted that with today’s technology such an engine could indeed power a fighter-sized vehicle to Mach 6.
It is in fact considered across the globe in countries having advanced aerospace projects, that combined cycle turbo/Ramjets (as in the SR-71's J-58
turbine/ramjet combined cycle engines) are the key to hypersonic, air breathing flight in the near term.
Scramjet technology is still not ready to play ball with the big boys, however turbo ramjet hybrid technology as seen in the 40+-year-old design of
the SR-71 is quite viable and in it's modern iteration is able to push upwards in excess of Mach 5.
Who is pursuing hypersonic aircraft using turbo-ramjet hybrid technology?
Try Russia, France, Germany, Australia and the UK for starters.
Ramjet Program Envisions Start of Test Flights in 2012: Aviation Week & Space Technology, 10/13/2008 , page 40
So where is the US where hypersonics is concerned? It depends on who you're listening to. If you listen to the government mouthpieces then
hypersonics is some dreamy goal that requires technologies we are just discovering or just not yet mature enough for such a vehicle.
We all know that's a load of crap though, we here at ATS keep up with this stuff and as a full bird colonel told me one time, "don't piss down my
leg and tell me it's raining..." In other words, we will not be deluded.
* Hybrid turbojet/ramjet technology is available today to power a vehicle from zero to Mach 6.
* There is a need, a requirement if you will from the last Quadrennial USAF Review that stated a hypersonic reconnaissance / strike vehicle was needed
in order to meet the US's security goals for the 21st century.
* Blackswift catered to those requirements until it's goals were changed to a more ridiculous power plant and doing a barrel roll at Mach 6...
Absolutely transparent to those who have seen this before -
Blackswift has gone black.
, we won't hear from you again unless a major conflict with Russia or China takes place. National assets like this just aren't
paraded around for the whole world to gawk at and study, no - this bird has disappeared until such time as it is needed.
[edit on 10-14-2008 by intelgurl]