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Pentagon wants ideas for flying aircraft carrier

Got an idea on how to make a flying aircraft carrier? The Defense Department wants to know about it. The Defense Advanced Research Products Agency has a request out for ideas on how to develop an airborne platform that could both launch and recover other aircraft. But before you start looking for schematics of the Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701) or Battlestar Galactica, or how you might levitate the USS Nimitz, think a little smaller, like B-1, B-52 or C-130. ( More...

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Colin Seftel 4
The US Navy had them in the 1930s. See
preacher1 1
It would be too much to expect that the government would look to something in house. They instead will want to go trillions of $ that we don't have developing something brand new. I can be just as ascenine as they can, wanting something by the 26th of this month.
AWAAlum 1
While working on a black project at McDonnell Douglas, (designing a small attack helicopter for the Army using new technology), 4 companies were co-located in Mesa and worked on the proposal for five years. Upon completion, it took 4 semi-tractor trailers to carry the proposal to St. Louis. DARPA has been smoking weed.
skylab72 1
As a veteran of several 'black' projects I can assure you working with DARPA is a breath of 'fresh' air, no weed. I'd do a dozen DARPA RFPs with the time and money it takes to develop a single operational sub-system. And the seriously profitable ones were always successful. What you have is a typical case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing...
skylab72 0
You did not follow the link, it specifically said they want min-cost built from existing hardware. Shoot your mouth before reading it seems to work for you.
tim mitchell 1
He followed the link...he just has the age and wisdom to know that the government never takes the practical way of doing things...Also while good at dropping supplies the c-130 probably isn't big enough to fit a drone on the inside and safely unload it without the wings being folded; it would have to free fall out and hopefully be piloted back under control before smacking the ground..Alsoa C130 is quit slow compared to a jet...The B-52s and B-1s would have to carry the drone on the outside and would have to be totally redesigned and modified. Mind you a predator is 27ftx48ftx7ft
skylab72 1
The predator also has a flight envelope significantly slower than the C-130, so the jets are worse not better...
The very mods that could transform a 130 airframe into something big enough for a 10k-lb 27x48x7 to land on, could also slow it enough to make the intercept useful, while adding enough interior space and lift to allow meaningful flight operations. It is a lot more practical than it first appears.
tim mitchell 1
So you want land it on top of the C130?....Have you gone mad? not just make the drone a solar/fuel hybrid? can use solar to plot its way along to the target and the rotax during take off and while leaving the target zone.
DAL521 3
LOL they probably watched too much Avengers :D
The human mind and ideas it can produce is a marvel on its own and should never be made fun of. The human mind has brought us from cave man to modern man as we know it today. The future is wide open for new and more interesting ideas which may come to reality and be a blessing but might also me our down fall. "Heavens forbid".
A wee bit of philosophy and who knows????
joel wiley 3
Instead of Air-to-Air refueling, replace the hose with a tether and make it a flying park and ride. Think of the hand-eye coordination needed by the drone jockey at Nellis AFB.
skylab72 1
I like your idea, Full automation (onboard computer control) of probe and drogue mid-air refueling has already been accomplished. Redesign Drogue and its wing attachments, add some wing mods for better slow flight stability and away you go...
David Hoanzl 3
A flying 3D printer could quickly print multiple suicide drone aircraft without the need to recover them. In-flight “refueling” of additives (rubber, porcelain, clay, metals, silicon, thermoplastics, munitions, etc.) would essentially make this a flying on-site aircraft factory.
skylab72 1
Sooner or later that will happen.
tim mitchell 6
Yes I have a wonderful idea...stop spending money on stupid stuff.
chalet 1
Right on man, these jerks' mind is all twisted, they don't understand that the National Debt is about 14 TRILLION and counting and all their little brains are thinking about is how to increase it.
30west 2
How about $17T and counting!!!!
chalet 2
OMG, 17T, I wonder what these guys are smoking, musnt't tobacco
joel wiley 3
they're smoking your grandchildren's dollars.
sparkie624 1
A tethered platform located at an altitude with near negative gravity from which specially designed aircraft can deploy for whatever purpose dreamed up by the dreamers at the Pentagon.

I have no problems with outlandish theories because much of our current existence is due to the dreamers of the past.
CALL TONY STARK.....jeeezzzz...things are just getting stupid !
Ric Wernicke 3
So the other day I accidently put my plane key in my front door, and it started up!

I took of and landed on cloud 9. I sat on the porch and yelled at passing aircraft to get off my lawn.

The above makes about as much sense as a flying aircraft carrier.
kingshootr 2
Been there done that. XB-85 Goblin. Learn from the past tax-dollar-spenders!
skylab72 1
First that would be an XF-85 Goblin, not B. While learning from the past is a good admonition, your basis is faulty. That era (B-50 & B-36 mother ships + XF-84, XF-85) was when the realities of aerodynamics were being learned the hard way. The fatality rate at Edwards exceeded one per week for months on end. Now we have all that data and orders of magnitude better compute power. What was hair brained pipe dream then can now be built with little more than operational funding.
sparkie624 2
An interesting concept, but I think landing a plane on a plane would be plain crazy.
The day the military quits wasting money is the day the United States becomes a member of the world society. There will probably be penguins in my back yard on a 115 degree day also.
Start with really big motors.
Ron271 1
Ace Combat has it figured out. Watch the first minute of this mission
A giant flying manta ray? That's so crazy, Congress is sure to authorize trillions of dollars for it then get pissed off when it doesn't work.
Those carriers are dead ducks for missiles or any other threats!
joel wiley 1
You might also take a look at the 1936 Things To Come, base on H.G.Wells book.
...why not an idea like the rotary launchers similar to that of the AGM-86 with the B-52 Stratofortress?
But they also want the drones to be recovered by air as well. That's a good launching system, and its current use is sure to cause the idiots on Capitol Hill to say "We can't use that because it might just work the first time." Recovery of the UAVs is another issue altogether and what would probably cost the most.
bighoss81 1
I think a flying carrier is exactly what will solve the worlds problems.
Petr Osipov 1
They should take a look at late 30es experiments in both US and USSR. I mean the fighter planes carried by either an airship (USS Acron and USS Macon), or soviet TB-3 Zveno system, successfully used operationally in june-july 41. In current situation the latter (originally consisting of a TB-3 heavy bomber and up to 5 fighter planes in above and below wings attachments) could be the best approach - connector points under wings, and/or a retractable connector point under belly (or extending out of ramp area) of a fat transport plane.
Crazy ideas (fruits of our minds) has caused new and "Worthwhile" gadgets to be created.
Some of these (formerly called nutty ideas) are now in use. Who would have thought (date: 1700) that people would fly ... Who would have thought (date:1900) that earth would be used to light our houses. LED light. Who would have thought about talking and watching each other while talking(SKYPE) date: 20th century. Human minds are full of crazy ideas and some of them materialized and are present gadgets and useful instruments and will take us to far out worlds ...........
Mark Gutis 1
Let's bring back the nuclear-powered airplane and just increase the size of the reactor and the aircraft. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
joel wiley 2
And think of the efficiencies using the fast breeder reactor!
Jason Edwards 1
I want my tax dollars back.

This is ridiculous and should of never left the insane guys desk that dreamed it up.

All we (tax paying Americans) need is another government project that is too big to fail.
joel wiley 1
Look, Lockheed Martin need *something* to do after the F-35.....
Jason Kepler 1
I was on a DARPA project in 2000-02 at MIT where we did this. We designed a system of UAV's that would work together autonomously. A large UAV would carry small UAV's to a place of interest, release them, act as a relay station between the ground base and the small UAV's, and then retrieve them. We built a large UAV and a smaller one and flew them. They managed to rendezvous autonomously and fly formation to within 15 feet in an orbit above us, but then we all graduated before we had a chance to get them to dock with one another. Anyhow, it was cool, and we spent a lot of time on it to make it work. The project was called Parent Child Unmanned Air Vehicles (PCUAV). DARPA's probably forgot that they paid for it and it's already been done by now. Maybe another kid will get their master's degree at MIT paid for to do it again.
TWA55 1
Why acrft carriers, missiles are the future as are unmanned acrft, manned fighters will be gone someday, and sooner then many will believe. The argument for keeping them holds no logic and like the battleship will cease to exist. War machines are at a crossroads, much like at the turn of the last century. Only egos and profits are standing in the way of a total transformation.
AWAAlum 1
Not sure, but I think you may have missed the point of the article.
joel wiley 1
After the 'total transformation' the highest tech weapon may well be the Shillelah.
ronn craddock 1
Stealth rocket, with disposable UAVs fitted into warhead. Could launch and deploy UAVs on a moments notice.
John Clarke 1
Back in the early 80s, there was a proposal for a 747 carrying Firebee type drones that were launched from the forward freight bay and recovered via a modified refueling boom. Given the vast improvement in airframe, capability & cost, you'd have to think that expendable drones would be the way to go.
skylab72 1
There seem to be a lot of folks who are wedded to the way things are and way to few who understand aerodynamics. This DARPA RFP is really not that hard nor far fetched. In fact I may send them a response.
joel wiley 1
After all the comments about reading/not reading the CNN blurb, here is a link to the RFI:
sam kuminecz 1
Why not open the cargo ramp of a C-5 and have them land inside? Haha
Reminds me of something you'd see on one of those sci-fi Japanese cartoons
unitcharlie 1
Weight and balance is gonna be a real bear.... I agree with Tim, stop wasting money on stupid stuff and develop stuff that will keep us strong and safe!
chalet 0
Is there anyone with a rusty but accurate Keuffel + Esser slide rule capable to calculate how much jetfuel would be required for say a couple of take offs MTOW and climb to FL 350. My guess is all the Jetfuel produced in the US over 3 months.
tim mitchell 1
why use jet fuel when you can just make it a two level platform with electric motors and fans? level would be solar panels and the bottom deck would be a flight deck....outer circumference of upper deck would support the propulsion fans....under the landing deck there would be a battery bay.
chalet 1
The batteries alone would be so heavy that the damn contraption with never lift, less energy is needed for an aircraft-like design as it will not take of like a chopper.

[This poster has been suspended.]

bob davis 1
dirigable with nuclear power.


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