Monday, September 12, 2011

Hiding in plain sight

I have this theory that the development of technology, not the actual weapons, is what the U.S. tries to keep most secret. It is not a devastating blow for your enemies to know you're building a Mach 4 bomber; it IS a devastating blow if they know how to jam the brand-new death ray you're going to mount on it.

And, it seems, I might be correct in this theory. The Air Force, in a handy timeline chart, laid out at a recent conference how it was going to build that Mach 4 bomber, in what basically amounts to a PowerPoint presentation.

"Superfast... stealthy... slide, please. Robust scramjet by 2015... slide, please."

As you can see, a lot of the basic technology already at least at Technology Readiness Level 3 or 4, or roughly halfway to operational use. The broad needs for such a craft, such as the engines and materials, are well under development. As speculates, this is proof that the Blackswift project had a bigger impact than anyone thought.

America's (and the world's) only operational Mach 3-capable aircraft was retired years ago. Perhaps by the end of this decade a faster cousin will have appeared in the skies.

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