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 ")

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.' - Robert Heinlein, 1941.

Have I Seen The Tesla Roadster Story Before?
'Only it wasn't a vessel. It was an automobile...' - Theodore Sturgeon, 1941.

Self-Driving Car Ticketed
This just missed making my day.

Loomo Mini Transporter Robot Companion You Ride On
'Slowly the [robot] horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.' - Christopher Stasheff, 1969.

 

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

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'

Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!

China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.

Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'

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.