Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on August 12, 2023 at 15:58:32 PST:
At the bottom of the page titled "Known and rumored Black Projects", it is mentioned that more information would be added as it becomes available. Since that page was last updated, some of the unclassified aircraft concepts on this webpage have made it to the flight test phase, and rumors of one or two black projects on this page have been debunked. Therefore, the page "Known and rumored Black Projects" should be updated to include the following:
1. The section "Blended Wing Body design" should be deleted because the Boeing in 2007-2013 test flew the X-48 subscale technology demonstrator to emulate the flight behavior of the blended wing body designs envisaged by McDonnell Douglas and later Boeing in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Northrop Grumman and Lockheed along with Boeing are investigating designs for a blended wing body airlifter/tanker transport to replace the KC-10 and potentially the C-5.
2. As already explained on this forum, Aurora was actually a Pentagon budget codename for funding procurement of the B-2 Spirit and clearly had nothing to do with air-breathing reconnaissance. The first test of pulse detonation wave engine aboard an aircraft on January 31, 2008 vindicated skepticism regarding prior speculations that the "donuts-on-a-rope" contrails were made by a pulse detonation wave engine, and elsewhere on this forum quellish has concluded that the crash at RAF Boscombe Down involved a towed missile decoy and not a reconnaissance aircraft.
3. The March 2006 article in Aviation Week and Space Technology about the alleged "Blackstar" two-stage-to-orbit system threw another wrench into reports about the supposed "Brilliant Buzzard" TSTO system, but the very William Scott who wrote about the non-existent Blackstar TSTO system also published articles in the early 1990s about the supposed "Brilliant Buzzard" TSTO system comprising a large carrier aircraft for piggybacking a small spaceplane. As I've stated on this forum, reported sightings of the "Brilliant Buzzard" are mostly based on misidentified small aircraft like the Long-EZ and Beechcraft Starship and the airplane-like RCS test article that was spotted being loaded into a C-5 had no cockpit. Astronomical investments that would have been required to bring a TSTO system for military use to the hardware phase are the main reason that rumors of the existence of the "Brilliant Buzzard" did not hold water.
4. William Scott referred to the non-existent Black Manta tactical reconnaissance flying wing as TR-3 unaware that the letters "ER" in the ER-2 designation assigned by NASA to two TR-1As modified for scientific research stand for "Earth Resources", not "Electronic Reconnaissance". Tier III had nothing to do with the Black Manta rumors because it was issued in 1993, two years after AW&ST published articles claiming the existence of the Black Manta.
5. The section about the SHARC should be removed because the Subsonic High Alpha Research Concept did not lead to any experimental or operational hardware.
6. The name "Boeing 350" should read "Boeing 987-350" because the aircraft represented by the drawing on this page and wind tunnel model photo labeled as "Boeing Supercruiser" actually bore the model designation 987-350 and was merely one of several Boeing design studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s for a supercruise fighter and thus had no connect to Groom Lake.
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