DARPA's Walrus and Griffith's War-Balloons
DARPA's Walrus program to develop and evaluate a very large airlift vehicle has moved forward; DARPA announced the contractors for the first phase of the program. Despite early descriptions of "war-balloons" in late nineteenth century science fiction, this isn't your father's (not to mention great-grandfather's) dirigible airship. According to DARPA's press release, "the Walrus aircraft will be a heavier-than-air vehicle and will generate lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring and gas buoyancy generation and management."
(Aeros Walrus Early Concept Design)
The two contractors receiving Walrus phase I awards are:
According to DARPA:
- Lockheed Martin Corp., Advanced Development Programs, Palmdale, Calif., which will receive $2,989,779
- Aeros Aeronautical Systems Corp., Tarzana, Calif., which will receive $3,267,000
A key goal of the Walrus program is to establish clear and
credible solutions that provide confidence that earlier airship-era limitations will be overcome.
In particular, an early focus of the program will be the investigation of advanced breakthrough
technologies that will support the development of innovative lift and buoyancy concepts that do
not rely on off-board ballast.
The Walrus operational vehicle (OV) is envisioned to have the primary operational task
of deploying composite loads of personnel and equipment (for example, the components of an
Army Unit of Action) ready to fight within six hours after disembarking the aircraft. Walrus will
operate without significant infrastructure and from unimproved landing sites, including rough
ground having nominal five-foot-high obstacles. It is intended to carry a payload of more than
500 tons 12,000 nautical miles in less than seven days at a competitive cost. Additionally,
Walrus will be capable of performing theater lift and supporting sea-basing and persistence
missions to meet a range of multi-Service needs.
The idea of using enormous dirigibles for heavy lifting in warfare is not a new idea. In his forgotten 1893 classic The Angel of the Revolution, George Griffith wrote about a coming World War fought with air-ships and war-balloons:
...The war-balloons were to be kept for purposes of transportation of heavy articles to Aeria, while the fleet of air-ships was to remain the sole effective fighting force in the world.
(Read more about war-balloons)
Read the DARPA Walrus press release, see the
Aeros Walrus description and take a look at a draft copy of DARPA Walrus solicitation (linked from this page). And I put a copy of a picture of the Thunderbird 2, a very similar fictional craft, in the comments.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/7/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )
Related News Stories -
Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.' - Jack Vance, 1954.
HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.
Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...' Isaac Asimov, 1988.
Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.' - Isaac Asimov
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.
Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Clothes That Do Photosynthesis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'
Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'
Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories