Skip to comments.No Go On A Nuclear-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?
Posted on 03/26/2012 6:27:31 PM PDT by U-238
There have been a number of articles lately about the U.S. developing a new unmanned aerial vehicle in secret. Dave Majumdar, at Air Force Times, recently had an article about how the U.S. Air Forces decision to postpone development of a next generation unmanned combat aircraft suggests that service might be developing something else in the black world.
The article quoted USAF intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Larry James who said that there is no immediate need for a next generation replacement for the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. And the Predator-C Avenger UAV the USAF is buying will be used only as a test plane, he added. Those comments have started speculation among some analysts that the U.S. already has plans for an advanced UAV to be built in secret .but others say the Pentagon will make due with the current systems.
Then the Federation of American Scientists had this last week:
A certain technology that could extend the mission duration and capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was favorably assessed last year by scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. But they concluded regretfully that current political conditions will not allow use of the results.
The assessment was carried out to explore the feasibility of next generation UAVs. The objective was to increase UAV sortie duration from days to months while increasing available electrical power at least two-fold, according to a June 2011 Sandia project summary.
And that objective could have been achieved by means of the unidentified technology, which would have provided system performance unparalleled by other existing technologies, the project summary said.
As a result of this effort, UAVs were to be able to provide far more surveillance time and intelligence information while reducing the high cost of support activities.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.ottawacitizen.com ...
An idea that comes to mind from a nuclear sub-orbital UAV is as a “mothership” to high altitude UAVs. The basic concept would be to create a nuclear powered sub-orbital airship that would have a UAV recovery hangar beneath it.
This would give its daughter UAVs great endurance with far more equipment on board. They would save an enormous amount of fuel not having to land then achieve altitude again.
Very good points