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Webdiarist Malcolm Street has a unique theory on why Britain and Australia are backing Bush on Iraq. Welcome to the anti-gravity arms race.
Australia, the UK, anti-gravity and the Iraq crisis
by Malcolm Street, Canberra
Are you sitting down? Good, because this is going to blow your mind.
This item is going to sound like a bad reject from conspiracy publications like Nexus or New Dawn, or an X-Files fanzine. It isn't. The indisputable
fact is that both the US and the UK are putting serious money into anti-gravity research with military aerospace applications. The only question is
how far it is from operational status. There is informed speculation that it is already used in the American B2 bomber.
I believe that access to this potentially revolutionary and obviously highly secret technology, perhaps via the JSF/ F35 fighter program, could be
behind the otherwise (in my view) inexplicable level of support given Bush over Iraq by Howard and Blair.
For the record I am a mechanical engineer who spent over two years at a British Aerospace guided missile R&D site in the early 1980s and have
continued to take a strong interest in aerospace technology. I am a member of ASRI (Australian Space Research Institute). I am not a crank.
The most puzzling aspect to me of the American obsession with invading Iraq even without UN sanction is the continuing support provided by Tony Blair
and John Howard. The USA's reason is obvious; to gain control of a major oil supply as insurance against increasing instability in Saudi Arabia. (If
it's about human rights and weapons of mass destruction, why the kid gloves treatment of North Korea?)
One could stretch to say that Blair has the interests of BP and the half-British Shell oil companies, but if it comes to a vote in the Commons he
could well be rolled. However nothing apart from blind loyalty seems to explain the support given by Australia, and even with a conservative
government there are rumblings from Howard's back benches and a population largely opposed.
So why are Blair and Howard, both consumate political operators, taking such a huge political risk for a war that no-one but the Americans want, which
could destroy the structure of international law and result in both the UK and Australia becoming international pariahs?
My hypothesis is the supply of information from the United States that is so secret it is only known to the very highest levels of government and is
of such strategic importance that it is worth taking such risks.
My initial thoughts were that the US was blackmailing both leaders over continued supply of intelligence information gained from the Echelon system
via the UKASA agreement. But that could have been done at any time over the last couple of decades. However, the current timescale however coincides
interestingly with the crucial development phase of the F35/JSF fighter aircraft program...
The JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), which is front-runner to replace the RAAF's F-18s and F-111s in what would be our largest ever defence order, is
quite unlike any previous supersonic US fighter project available for foreign allies. Unlike the earlier F104 Starfighter and F16 Falcon programs,
there will be no generalised offset agreements, by which foreign manufacturers will be able to supply components to the whole program. Technology
transfer in the JSF will be very tightly controlled, with only the UK (developing a version to replace the Harrier jump-jet) so far as an inner
Australia is trying hard to get on board, with (according to a local TV news item some months ago) three firms in Canberra alone tendering for parts
of the project.
There is a precedent for Australia sucking up to a larger power in the hopes of gaining access to its advanced weapons technology; the agreement given
to conduct British nuclear tests on Australian territory in the 1950s in the hope of getting transfers of British atomic bomb technology. (See Dr
Wayne Reynolds' book "Australia's bid for the Atomic Bomb"). In turn a major theme of this book is the use the UK made of its own program as a
bargaining chip to get access to US atomic technology.
The July 2002 issue of the British magazine Air International had an article entitled "JSF UK - more than just an aircraft" by one Robert Hewson
which deals with the JSF program, particularly the extensive participation of British companies (notably BAe Systems and Rolls-Royce) in its
"One reason the US is keeping such a tight hold over the industrial elements of the JSF is the thorny issue of "stealth" and how to control access
to the classified stealth technologies which are built into every aspect of the JSF design. The US and UK have a special (and classified) agreement
that allows the two countries to share data on common stealth research, but all other discussion of the subject is closed. The question of how the US
will supply this sensitive set of technologies to other JSF customers goes unanswered - but the underlying message is that the US is reluctant to do
so and that somehow there will be different standards in JSF "stealthiness" between friends, good friends and others."
So we know there is a sweetheart classified deal between the US and UK over stealth technology in the JSF, and that apparently the full stealth
technology will not be supplied to outside customers. Why couldn't it cover other highly classified technology as well? What if this other US-UK
technology was so revolutionary that the inner partners' versions of the JSF would have a massive advantage over anything else in the air for years
to come, something that could give them a colossal and unassailable strategic advantage, as great as, perhaps, the atomic bomb?
There is such a technology on the horizon: anti-gravity. Yes you read that right! Both the US and UK are publicly running research programs
investigating anti-gravity under such headings as "propellantless propulsion". The UK effort, run by BAe Systems, is called Project Greenglow (see
bbc for an overview), while in the US Boeing is running an anti-gravity program in its Phantom Works (Boeing's equivalent of Lockheed's legendary
Skunk Works) in Seattle (see janes). In addition, NASA is looking into overlapping areas under the "Breakthrough Propulsion Physics" project (home
page nasa). (An interesting selection of links on anti-gravity links, albeit with the odd crank, can be found at eskimo).
How far away is anti-gravity technology? It may already be operating...
Towards the end of an otherwise routine article on aircraft propulsion in Air International in January 2000, reprinted at aeronautics, well-known and
highly respected aviation writer Bill Gunston speculated that the American Northrop B-2 Spirit heavy bomber already uses some form of anti-gravity
"I have numerous documents, all published openly in the United States, which purport to explain how the B-2 is even stranger - far, far stranger -
than it appears. Most are articles published in commercial magazines, some are openly published US Patents, while a few are open USAF publications by
Wright Aeronautical Laboratory and Air Force Systems Command's Astronautics Laboratory. They deal with such topics as electric-field propulsion, and
electrogravitics (or anti-gravity), the transient alteration of not only thrust but also a body's weight. Sci-Fi has nothing on this stuff."
What really put the cat among the proverbial pigeons was a feature published in a March 1992 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, entitled
"Black world engineers, scientists, encourage using highly classified technology for civil applications". For the first time in open literature,
this article explained how the B-2's sharp leading edge is charged to "many millions of volts", while the corresponding negative charge is blown
out in the jets from the four engines.
"Take-off thrust of the [B2 engine] F118- 100 at sea level is given as '19,000lb (84.5kN) class' by Northrop Grumman and as '17,300lb (77.0kN)'
by the USAF. These are startlingly low figures for an aircraft whose take-off weight is said to be 336,5001b (152,635kg) and which was until recently
said to weigh 376,0001b (170,550kg). Aircraft usually get heavier over the years, not 20 tones [sic] lighter. Even at the supposed reduced weight, the
ratio of thrust to weight is a mere 0.2, an extraordinarily low value for a combat aircraft."
In other words, Gunston is implying that the B2 is seriously underpowered unless there is some means of reducing its mass or of increasing its lift
beyond that provided by conventional aerodynamic means.
"Other writers have commented on the size of the B-2 wing and noted that its stealth depends on the huge black skin being made of RAM
(radar-absorbent material). This, say the physicists, is 'a high-k, high-density dielectric ceramic, capable of generating an enormous
electrogravitic lift force when charged'."
So is this why the B2s cost US$1 billion each?
Gunston's article is controversial, (an interesting discussion on it in the rec.aviation.military Internet newsgroup is archived at google under the
title "B-2A and electrogravity") but there is a precedent for a radical, cost-is-no- object, highly classified US military aircraft using two major
sets of new technologies, one secret and the other VERY secret.
The legendary Lockheed A12/SR71 "Blackbird" reconnaissance aircraft was increasingly declassified in the late 70s/early 80s, with major details
released on the structural and propulsion technologies that enabled that incredible aircraft, one of the great masterpieces of aeronautical
engineering, to cruise at Mach 3. What wasn't declassified until several years later, long after the F117 stealth fighter had been unveiled, was the
fact that it was also a stealth design! While stealth took second place to speed, the fact was that stealth elements were a major factor in the
airframe configuration, design of which dated back to the late 1950s, twenty years before stealth technology was even mentioned by the US
Another example is the even more legendary North American P-51 Mustang fighter of World War 2. For years its outstanding performance was explained by
its "laminar flow" wing technology (also used in the B24 Liberator bomber).
Shortly before former senior manager and engineer at North American Aviation, Lee Atwood, died a few years ago he wrote articles for a couple of
aircraft magazines (see, for example, airspacemag) giving the real explanation. Using a phenomenon known as the "Meredith Effect", the Mustang's
characteristic under-fuselage duct for the engine's radiator was so shaped internally that the heat from the radiator converted it into, effectively,
a low- temperature ramjet, thrust from which at high speeds offset most of the drag produced by the radiator in the first place! Not even the
servicing crews knew that this was the true function of the duct design!
We know that the JSF/F35 will incorporate a high degree of stealth, like the B-2, with the degree of stealth apparently varying between inner and
outer customers. However, stealth is relatively old-hat; the F117, the first stealth aircraft, turns up regularly at air shows, much of the US 70s and
80s stealth program has been declassified and the general principles, if not specific applications, of stealth technology are now well-known in the
unclassified world. I can't see it being worth risking the fall of the UK or Australian governments.
So are Howard and Blair playing a very high-stakes game to gain access to a revolutionary military technology more secret, more important, than
stealth, one that's perhaps being pioneered on the US-only B-2? Like anti-gravity technology only available to the select inner partners of the
JSF/F35 program? And has the US threatened to boot them out if they don't toe the Bush line on Iraq?