Shape-Shifting Bomber In Need Of Plowsharing

Shape-shifting supersonic bomber fans are feeling bereft this weekend, as the Pentagon officially nixed its Switchblade project.

The idea was that Switchblade would sail jauntily along well below the speed of sound in one configuration, and then morph into a supersonic configuration and ease through the sound barrier.

DARPA gave Northrup Grumman more than $10 million to come up with prototype designs; check out the Switchblade shape-shifting bomber video below.


(Switchblade shape-shifting bomber concept video)

Unfortunately, after at least a thousand different virtual test runs, DARPA decided that the plane just wouldn't fly.

There's nothing wrong with coming up with amazing designs for weapons and weapon delivery systems that don't work. In fact, you might just go ahead and plowshare them before building them, anyway.

In Philip K. Dick's marvelous 1965 novel The Zap Gun, military ideas were immediately plowshared, that is, they were turned to peaceful uses immediately. There must be some sort of peacetime use for this idea.

From Wired via our friends at frolix_8

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/5/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters." - Jack Williamson, 1931.

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'- Robert Heinlein, 1985.

Embark Autonomous Trucks Still Need Humans
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.

SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.