silverbug.pdf Joint ATIC-WADC Report on Project Silver Bug
A technical document proposing project Silverbug, the Air Forces Radical Aircraft Design, “flying Disk” program.
Document date: 1955-02-15
Author: Technical Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson AFB
Document type: Technical Report
Archivist's Notes: A proposal document for project Silverbugs supersonic, vertical take-off, disk-shaped aircraft. The report covers both a
multi-engine configuration, and a radial-flow single-engine design. The aircraft itself was envisioned for speeds up to mach 3.4, at a ceiling of
80,600 feet, with a range of 620 miles. The document is in good condition, and includes a large number of schematics, cut-aways, engine airflow
patterns, and graphics explaining ground effect cushioning.
Project Silver Bug has a colorful though confusing history that is only partially made more transparent through this document, the Project Silver Bug
Technical Report of the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) of the U.S. Air Force. Originally published in February, 1955, the Technical Report
document was declassified in March of 1995.
There is some discrepancy in the records as to the chronology and relationship between the Canadian AVRO vehicle and the inception, design,
development, testing, and deployment of the secret “Black” project Silver Bug aircraft. You can read a synopsis in the
ATS TinWiki Article about Project Silverbug, including the often quoted essay by aviation history
expert Randall Whitcomb on the subject.
There is not much doubt that the engineering impetus for Silver Bug and the AVRO development was engendered through Project Paperclip, the program
enacted during the closing days of World War II by which the U.S. government relocated many of the top German scientists and engineers away from
Hitler’s soon to be eliminated Nazi party to the west. These scientists and engineers were sent to places like White Sands in New Mexico to help
with rocketry and nuclear physics programs and to bases in the U.S. and Canada to provide engineering assistance on the many airframe, weaponry, and
propulsion systems under development. Some of these scientists presumably worked on the Nazi’s infant saucer programs, and were transferred to AVRO
in Canada among other places to transfer some of their knowledge to these burgeoning disc-based aviation programs. Here’s a video montage of some
the Nazi Saucer programs:
There is some speculation that Project Silver Bug was, in fact, a highly classified program that used the AVRO development as a smokescreen or
disinformation campaign to deflect attention away from the much more sophisticated craft under the Silver Bug umbrella.
Although a few sources claim that Silver Bug was actually a coordinated project to work in secret but in tandem with the AVRO disc vehicle
development, others say that one project preceded the other or that Silver Bug began as a tandem military project that “went Black” when certain
propulsion or aerodynamic milestones were achieved. There is little doubt that Silver Bug was a secret (classified) project since even the attached
technical report was kept away from public scrutiny for 40 years.
Most researchers believe that because of the 40-year secrecy, and the fact that no military official has ever denied that there are additional
saucer-development military projects that remain classified. Since the 1947 UFO flaps and subsequent hysteria, the military has extended significant
efforts to cover up, spread disinformation, and otherwise deflect further scrutiny of actual UFO or saucer development or interest by the government.
There was even an article published in “LOOK” Magazine in June of 1955, that seemed to be created
merely to satisfy the public curiosity to know more about the various “Flying Saucer” reports making the news.
In actuality, the Canadian-built AVRO car prototypes (several versions), were clumsy, silly-looking, unstable craft that barely hovered a few shaky
feet off the ground:
By contrast, as this declassified document reveals on page 22, Table III, the Silver Bug Radial-Flow Engine was designed to propel the craft a range
of 620 miles, at a speed of nearly Mach 3.5 (2,300 mph) and to an altitude of over 80,000 feet. This is a substantial performance increase over what
has been shown capable with the AVRO vehicles.
For further reading, here are a few more links to information regarding the Silver Bug program and its relationship to AVRO and other disc-shaped
aircraft development programs:
This document describes one of the many disc shaped experimental aircraft that were tested in the 1950's. The holy grail achievement for flying
aircraft was and still is the ability to take off and land vertically (VTO), or in other words without the need of a landing strip. Undoubtedly, these
craft were inspired by the descriptions of flying saucers from that era. It was a futile attempt at combining conventional propulsion to
unconventional aircraft design. The Avrocar turned out to be a much better parking lot cleaner than it was a combat aircraft.
I realized something very interesting. On the 7th and 14th of june 1952 Richard Miethe gave an interview to a french newspaper, relating to a special
project he contributed during WW2 which was deemed so important at the end that Hitler gave it the designation V7.
What is really interesting is, that the description of this radial flow craft was exactly that of the Silverbug Project. He even also stated they had
6 compressor stages just like the Silverbug.
They made one prototype which looked like the Y1 from the Silverbug Project (Flying manta) which flew successfully but then crashed into the sea...
Then they wanted to make a bigger type with 42m diameter, as this is what was needed from their calculations to get a craft, which is able to carry
bombs to the USA, which was what Hitler wanted. But the war ended before this was realized. According to him a few engine prototypes where captured by
the Russians, together with 3 involved engineers.
As his descriptions matched so 1 on 1 all of this Silverbug-Project, I always thought he just read about the Silverbug project, as this was quite in
the news in the 50s and then just made up this story.
But I now suddenly realized that this doesn't fit the timeframe. As I researched online: the first public mentioning of this Silverbug project was on
the 11th feb 1953.
So Miethe couldn't have read anything about this.
So from this I can basically only conclude that the US seemed to got the plans for this WW2 german project and tried to copy it.
This gives quite some food for thoughts about the backgroundstory on the german side during ww2 as well as on the US and Russian side after the war
relating such craft.
BTW it is IMHO also interesting that in the 2nd interview he stated that 3 days after his first interview a big North-US aircraft company invited him
to get to the US to build his extraordinary apparatus.
This was the last interview from him. Afterwards nobody every heard of him again.
Actually every trace of him seems to be non existent, even that much, that many today actually doubt he ever existed at all.
BTW: I did find the 1st newspaper article, but the more important 2nd article I couldn't find anywhere. Has anybody of you this article?
Its an article from: France soir 14th june 1952.
edit on 22-2-2016 by hulli because: addition
Hmm, or could it even be, that AVRO actually only started this project when Miethe joined them in 1952 ???
That would be a bit tight on the schedule IMHO on the AVRO side, or what's your opinion?
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