posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 01:43 AM
Don't like it.
Don't see enough volume for all the systems/payload, even without the blood bag out front.
Wonder why you would want to penetrate when you could put a rocket motor on an SDB class munition and let the bullet go where the bot did or -could-
The French are developing a similar system, called 'fast-slow' which is designed to sprint supersonically to a target area and then loiter for
4-6hrs (some say much more) at 150 knots. The difference is that it doesn't have a 200ft wingspan whose stiffness is presumably largely a function
of (nowhere else to go) fuel loads.
_Maneuver To Target Not To Engage_.
'Scouting' being a risky proposition without SR-71 class standoff suite, there is no point pretending that the ability to go in quick equates with
the freedom to find and track your target /after/ you get there.
Overhead is nice but also not a mechanic-guarantee on TCTs while reliance on systems like the RQ-4 and E-8 or 10 only increase the 'target
diversity' of HVA platforms which must both /get to/ the theater and survive (even at the peripheries) once there to give RISTA to the strike
airframe. The EP-3E Aries fiasco shows what that can come down to.
Such are the inherent risks of 'big anything' as pseudo-strategic platforms-
1. They are SO valuable.
2. They are SO limited in what they can see, directly.
That they lose a lot of their utility as penetrators.
Which makes the nonsense of speedy-quick only relevant to the _transit phase_ (CONUS or Theater Basing) by which they arrive on station to assume
their intimidation overwatch. You need only look at the hours-to-radius timelines on Chrome Dome to realize that Mach 2 means not a whole helluva lot
more than Mach .9 over GLOBAL REACH distances.
In the end, I wish DARPA well. I just think that, having done the Oblique Wing thing once before-
And 'living in a much larger world'; we need to look at assets which can either base much closer in (cough, tailhook) or be of such lower value as
to not be afraid to lose when flown as a self-targeting fires delivery vehicle.