Ikarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (12 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1002 times:
Wolfpacker - I'm sorry to say so, but you have chosen pretty much the least fitting Thread title possible: I was half-expecting someone to come out with the "news" that Boeing is thinking about a sonic cruiser....
However, the article is truly interesting and thanks for pointing it out!
I have a few thoughts, though:
1) Obviously, the idea of using plasma generated by the craft itself is only usable for hypersonic and space-vehicles. Hence I am not sure it would ever be used for combat, as is suggested, but as defence system for space-exploring craft.
2) Generating a plasma-field around an aircraft to reduce drag is a very interesting concept worth investigating. It would make more expensive structural designs like the BWB or the sonic cruiser quite redundant - why bother building a very expensive manufacturing line and structure if all you need is some modifications to the existing 747 to outperform the A380? So no: This does not sound like a solution likely to be used on the sonic cruiser, but on older designs to upgrade them
3) Using plasma for stealth sounds unlikely: I imagine you would have to fly slowly enough to stay within you bubble all the time - something not very popular among combat pilots, I'd imagine
On the whole, I believe plasma is far more likely to gain more importance in space travel, and not in earthly aviation, but the concepts do appear interesting and worth some research.