DARPA Guts Falcon Blackswift

| October 15, 2008

falcon3.jpg

Earlier this year I outlined a DARPA project to produce a hypersonic UAV under the project name “Falcon Blackswift

According to the few details available on Blackswift, Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works shop is the main contractor for the vehicle. DARPA, in fact, still isn’t talking about Blackswift; it’s using the HTV-3X designation. But HTV-3X is a departure from the previous Falcon program. Careful observers at last week’s DARPATech, like Bill Sweetman, noticed some important elements: “Key features – apparent from images snagged from DARPA video, and from other sources – include the fact that HTV-3X is an unmanned, fighter-sized aircraft.”

Now word comes via Defense Tech Blog:

The Blackswift reusable hypersonic testbed has been canceled by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) after Congress slashed the program’s fiscal 2009 budget to $10 million, from $120 million.

“Congress made significant reductions in the amount of funds available to DARPA and the Air Force for the Blackswift testbed,” the agency said in a statement. “Based on this, DARPA determined that it would not be possible to proceed with the solicitation for the effort.”

Sadly this is probably just the first of many such cutting edge projects that will be eliminated as the federal welfare program for America’s largest banks consumes every dollar that could be going to improve our future technological edge.

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Category: Main, Military, Space

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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