> The idea that DARPA was ignorant of a fighter program by one of the largest weapons contractors in the country/world is absurd.
These kinds of issues (inability to discuss relevant classified developments with other defense or intelligence entities that might benefit from knowing) is a routine and valid criticism of classification practice.
That pesky "need to know" principle.
If you have enough interest to go beyond these documents that are "web length" and would like to delve into the engineering and programmatic details, I cannot recommend enough the AIAA book "Have Blue and the F-117A: Evolution of the "Stealth Fighter": https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/book/10.2514/4.867958 . It is easily one of the best books out there on the development of an advanced technology / rapid prototyping aircraft, and you'll marvel at how little context any of the usual web length writeups or TV shows actually give you.
Head of the Skunk Works was Clark "Kelly" Johnson? The Swedish engineer who designed SR71 BlackBird and who could "see through air"?
Edit - I'm wrong. The author is Ben R Rich, who is successor to Clark "Kelly" Johnson. Both served as directors of Lockheed Skunk Works.
I believe most humans can see through air. Presumably the paraphrase was something more like "see air". ;)
As for Skunk Works, it chronicles Ben Rich's involvement in Skunk Works, which spanned 1954 - 1991. Initially as thermodynamist, later as director.
It's half about U-2, A-12 / SR-71, F-117 development, and half about how to create, nurture, and sustain a high-performance engineering culture on a budget.
Would definitely recommend.
I swear to God I'd noted this book in my to-read list today itself. There's no pic attach menu available here, else I would post a snapshot of my to-read list.
Apart from that, I had also noted these two -
"Area 51 Black Jets A history of the aircraft developed at Groom Lake"
"Inside the stealth bomber"
Had you had the opportunity to read these two?
Thanks for the suggestion.
I have not read "Area 51 Black Jets"; title clearly intended for pop appeal, but hopefully it's substantial content.
I believe I read "Inside the stealth bomber" about 15 years ago and thought it was decent. Bill Sweetman is one of the better aerospace writers out there, if a bit quick to extrapolate from some data points (makes sense given he's a journalist whose trade is to discuss things about which little info is publicly available).
The recommendation for Skunk Works by Rich (I think ghostwritten by Leo Janos who also ghost wrote for Yeager) is also seconded.
There also a few choice publications of decent length on the web:
"Winning the ATF" by Sherm Mullin, PM for the YF-22: https://www.afa.org/20140207afaorg/publications/michellinsti... -> "Winning the ATF"
"B-2: Spirit of Innovation" by Rebecca Grant: http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/B2SpiritBomber/S...
Great NASA e-book series: https://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/aeronautics_ebooks_archi...
The only potential thing to watch out about the NASA books is that NASA sometimes has a tendency to play up their own contributions to programs that were very joint (e.g., AF/NASA/DARPA and Industry). Small fault to find given that NASA is awesome enough to put these high-quality publications together, employ some really great historians and photographers, and make the pubs freely available. In particular, the F-16XL story ("Elegance in Flight") is one that I'd never seen told with such completeness anywhere else. The X-29, Active Aeroelastic Wing, and Low-Boom Supersonic books are also recommended.
I've been studying about Stealth & Aerodynamics on my own for a few years now. So I don't read them just for pop appeal. Went through a few parts of "Have Blue & the F117A" yesterday, and I'm okay with it. Actually I'm excited to read it in it's entirety.
Thanks a lot for the detailed elaboration though. Gonna take a look at these books.
We have self-driving cars and the Internet because of DARPA. It sort of like a government sponsored X-Prize.
May I ask name of the Genesis project for self driving cars?
I was trying to remember DARPA Grand Challenge as a possible candidate for one of the DARPA programs to pioneer Computer Vision in self driving vehicles. Also had Sebastian Thrun lingering in my subconscious.
But then thought the real DARPA program that gave us self driving cars must be somewhere in 70's or 80's
The idea may sound absurd but I believe it threads the needle of the GOPs love for defense spending and opposition to negative economic impacts, with everyone elses desire to save the planet.
Unfortunately, we're poisoning the most important instance (in the oceans) and clearing another (in developing countries) wholesale, leading to less biomass where there needs to be more.
Under HAVE BLUE, Lockheed built two manned technology dem- onstrators to validate Lockheed’s pole model results. Even though these test vehicles made use of conventional o -the-shelf compo- nents and subsystems, they were truly revolutionary. Their shap- ing and materials were so important that their impact on aircraft survivability changed the way the U.S. Air Force ghts. Technologies nurtured by DARPA included RCS reduction, RAM development, infrared shielding, reduced visual signatures, low-probability-of- intercept radar, inlet shielding, exhaust cooling and shaping, and other signature reduction disciplines. First ight occurred in April 1977, and both aircraft were tested extensively. Eventually both were lost during ight test mishaps, but the results were clear. On Nov. 16, 1978, Lockheed received a contract for full-scale engineering devel- opment of what would become the F-117.