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Funding cuts by lawmakers have doomed a hypersonic project named Blackswift that was to develop a long-awaited successor to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
The fiscal 2009 defence budget approved last month slashes requested spending for the Mach 6-capable Blackswift Test Bed project from $120 million to $10 million.
Originally posted by Harlequin
now either this is going black or is really being killed off.
Originally posted by waynos
With something along these lines, I would have thought that if secrecy was important it would be black from the very beginning, like the F-117 and Lockheed A-11, rather than turning black later on after you have told everyone what you are doing, no?
Originally posted by waynos
I don't remember the F-117 being open at all until the 'dodgy perspective' photo came out about 1987, by which time production was already (as good as?) over.
In 1974, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a program known as PROJECT HARVEY, after a well-known comedy about an invisible giant rabbit, that requested designs of an "experimental survivable testbed (XST)" aircraft with a low RCS.
Lockheed was not among the companies contacted by DARPA with this request, but in 1975 Ben Rich, an engineer who had worked on the secret Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, got wind of the project and lobbied the government successfully to have Lockheed included.
Rich had the services of two Lockheed employees, mathematician Bill Schroeder and computer scientist Denys Overholser, to work on the XST program. Schroeder realized that it would be much easier to compute RCS if the shape of an aircraft could be reduced to a set of flat surfaces, or "facets". Schroeder approached Overholser with the idea, and within five weeks Overholser had written a computer program named "Echo I" that could determine the RCS of a "faceted" aircraft. Armed with Echo I, Schroeder came up with an initial XST design that he called the "Hopeless Diamond", and handed Ben Rich a sketch of it in May 1975.
* Interestingly, up to this time PROJECT HARVEY was not a secret program, and in fact had been mentioned in the aerospace press. When the Carter Administration took office in early 1977, Bill Perry, an influential defense undersecretary for research and engineering and later defense secretary in the Clinton Administration, learned of how dramatic the results of the model tests had been.
Perry immediately saw to it that program became secret. Responsibility was transferred from the mostly-civilian DARPA to the USAF Special Projects Office, and funding was increased. Orders went out stating that the word "stealth" was not be used in unclassified documents, and the program was assigned a meaningless two-word codename: HAVE BLUE.