Skip to comments.U.S. military wanted nuclear drones that fly nonstop for months
Posted on 04/04/2012 9:35:21 PM PDT by U-238
Even on military flights, regular manned aircraft need to stop regularly so the crew can rest, bathe and unwind. But an unmanned drone can keep flying until it runs low on fuel, so the U.S. military drew up plans for nuclear powered drones that could stay airborne for months at a time.
The catch 22 is that while a manned aircraft can stay airborne for extended periods using mid-air refueling, this requires a skilled team on the plane making true long tern endurance impossible.
Working in collaboration with Sandia National Labs, Northrup Grumman drew up plans for a drone powered by a helium-cooled nuclear reactor, giving both vastly extended endurance and a big upgrade to the onboard juice to power all of that nifty spy gear.
While the existence of this long-established program was just recently revealed, it turns out that political conditions have placed it on the back burner for now. The technology could undoubtedly have been made to work, but the consequences of a nuclear drone crash was just too much of a political risk to take. If a nuke drone crashed over enemy territory, that country would undoubtedly claim that the U.S. had exploded a dirty bomb over their state. Then add to that the problem of all that technology falling into the wrong hands, and it was decided that the risks were simply too high.
This means that for now drones will continue to fly using the very fuel produced by some of the countries they are being flown over. How ironic.
(Excerpt) Read more at dvice.com ...
If it stays up for four months or longer seek medical attention.
Nice tagline! I actually attended a concert by the MC-5 at the Grande Ballroom in Deetroit where they performed the uncensored version.
Oh mein Gott, that was a long time ago!
When the NB-36 flew, there was a C-119 chase plane with a group of fully armed paratroops. Should the NB-36 crash, they were to jump at the crash site to secure the nuclear material until authorities and decontamination teams arrived.
What killed the nuclear bomber was the stark fact that a crash would spread radioactive materials over a large area and require tons of remedial work. The nuclear bomber was canceled. The same thing applies to a nuclear powered drone.
Obama has them working on an algae powered drone that can stay up for minutes at a time.
I recall reading about the possibility of nuclear-powered command & control planes also. I don’t know if that idea ever made it to anything you could even call a planning stage.
Its possible. But they would have to land anyhow when they run out food and water.Alternative underground command posts were built in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia (two), and West Virginia.
Hard for that NOT TO HAPPEN, with a moose slime marxist mole in the CIC seat!
Shoot,they should talk to the guy, wait a miute, he crashed and burned in New Mexico a while back. Anyway, he was talking about a plane that had solar power for the daytime and glide at night years ago.
Up above the cloud ceiling you would have sunshine 12 hours a day.
Solar-powered drones could be used as alternatives to communications satellites, for one thing. A lot cheaper to launch, and you could rotate them out every couple of years for routine maintenance and upgrades.
It would probably look something like this:
The one in WV was at a really nice resort. The story was that it was chosen to house congress because of its location — about as remote as you can get within a half-day’s drive of DC, but knowing what’s really important to congresscritters, it was probably as much due to the well-trained chefs and waitstaff in place...
When a nuclear powered aircraft crashes — and they will crash at sometime trough mechanical failure or human mistakes — the chances of the reactor core being exposed are very great. How many countries want exposed reactor cores on their property? Zero. Even the Russians never accepted the idea of a split open reactor spewing radioactive contamination around. (And that's saying something for Russian's desire for survival.)
I gotta getta Nuclear Powered Drone!