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Is Aurora Real?  
User currently offlineJet-Lagged From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 871 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 8 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5810 times:

Hi,

I wonder what the consensus is on extremely high performance aircraft, e.g. very fast (hypersonic, notably faster than SR-71) or odd configurations (like a UFO). What I mean is full scale craft, no models. Actually used for missions or at least extended testing and development.

Some threads and web sites seem to suggest the existence of 'Aurora' built many years ago, but not as public knowledge. Also some other programs using revolutionary propulsion. Extremely secret though my intention is not to get into conspiracy theories, terrestrial or extraterrestrial. I wonder how useful and feasible it would be to really keep such a vehicle secret for so long.

Anyway, does anyone believe - based on some data please - that any super craft are 'out there'?

Thanks!





14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6278 posts, RR: 34
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5769 times:

Those that know will neither confirm, nor deny this. Wait a few years, about 18, and you'll know the truth.


Quit calling an airport ramp "Tarmac" and a taxiway "runway".
User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5746 times:

Jet-Lagged...
Is the Aurora real? I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.  Big thumbs up

Kelly Johnson, the designer of both the U-2 and SR-71, did a television interview a couple of years before he died. I saw the interview - He was talking about the SR-71. During the interview he commented that the reason he was even talking about the SR-71 was that it was obsolete. It was an interesting choice of words. You figure it out. My money says we have at least one hypersonic aircraft in the inventory.

Jetguy


User currently offlineJet-lagged From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5717 times:


It could be obsolete for many reasons - e.g. electronics, materials, etc. Even if something else was not yet build, it can still be considered obsolete.

And I don't want to wait 18 years! It would be like seeing the V1 rocket in the nineties; it wouldn't seem advanced, only primative!

My guess is that 'something' is out there as a test platform, but it is itself already obsolete from other approaches to war, such as satelllites, networked armies, cyberwar, or something. So, if word ever got out that lots of money was squandered on something with no use, the political fall-out would be heavy.

JetLagged





User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5611 times:

Yeah it is but it had the same kind of project as the XB-70, but it was an experiment recon plane, like the recently revealed Bird of Prey, I donno if it still flies.

I heard those planes will supposidly be officially "revealed" in 2012, which happens to be the same amount of time between Aurora's first flight and the first flight of the A-12 CIA planes until we all found out about them when the USAF Blackbirds were first retired - 27 years. Like I said I donno it they are still using them. Unlike the A-12's, there is no way Aurora could carry armament.

Just a bit on it, it runs at M6 and based on it's Inconel structure, it could have a Vmax of M9 (i'm sure it never went there), runs on LCH4, which is why it might not be flying, the oil company must got on Lockheed's but about it, which is probably why NASA is investigating hydrocarbon fuels for the next X-43 variant. I donno range, the thing was 2/3rds fuel, probably 6500 Nmi. Nice thing about PED's is that they turn into reamjets pretty easily...

Just to let you know I have researched Aurora since 1993, I know what I know. I'm not going to back up what others say or defend myslef against anyone with regards to Aurora, but I will argue about realism.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineJet-lagged From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5411 times:

Lehpron,

Thanks for the post. Some of the sites I've seen before, especially about the budget. I guess my conclusion is that yes it is there, but the DoD have decided not pursue more than one or a very few.

What I think is most interesting it the timing. It appears that it was conceived, built and first flew in the eighties. I remember Ronald Reagan for seemingly no particular reason raising the idea of an 'Orient Express', which would travel at Mach 6 or 8 to Asia in a few hours. Now I think know where he got the idea.

cheers,
Brian

(I also checked out the XB-70 and Bird of Prey which was interesting in and of itself.)





User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1257 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5318 times:

I wouldn't compare the XB-70 program with the Aurora, as the Aurora is a much darker program. The XB-70 was in magazine articles before it ever flew, though a number of the specific technologies were heavily classified.

Bird of Prey itself wasn't a recon plane, and was supposedly designed primarily to assist in the development of the X-45 UCAV... of course, there is nothing to say the techs it demonstrated were not used to help develop a recon plane.

I have a fair amount of confidence the Aurora exists. I know a few people working in various agencies and the USAF, and most tend to believe it is real, though nobody has mentioned any performance figures beyond very fast and very high.

Aurora supposedly got its name from a line in a congressional or GAO budget report, where Aurora was used as a code-name for the money diverted to the B-2 Bomber. Whether that is where the money was actually destined, I don't know. The story, though "officialized", may just be part of the secrecy surrounding the Aurora. Regardless of the origins of the name, however, I think its flying. Satellites can't provide the sort of abilities an aircraft can, and as long as an airplane is the only way to fly an unpredictable path with recon equipment, we will need a spy-plane.



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineGrandtheftaero From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 254 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 8 hours ago) and read 5134 times:

Indeed... here is a link to some info about the GAO report (scroll to about half way down the page) complete with some slick references, too.

http://www.fas.org/irp/mystery/aurora.htm


User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4964 times:

"I remember Ronald Reagan for seemingly no particular reason raising the idea of an 'Orient Express', which "

Sadly, the NASP was a cover for Aurora and that cover was known within the DoD as "Copper Canyon", and when USAF pulled out, NASP was cancelled and the 'Aurora' sightings around Southern Cali stopped. That would lead some to conclude that Aurora had been cancelled. Or it could have gone into operation somewhere else. Either way, I think it was sad how they used NASA, after the X-30 adn X-33 and X-34 knock-off's I figured NASA could change their name to NSA. X-43 aint goin nowhere without interest.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4814 times:

Makes me laugh how people have latched onto this "Aurora" name.

Didn't people learn when the F-117 was still a big secret? Amateur investigators kept insisting that the USAF was testing a stealth craft called the 'F-19' and the Air Force kept denying it.

I still recall the Air Force spokesman saying that the USAF could deny the existence of the F-19 with a dead-straight face simply because they had never used that designation for the F-117.


User currently offlineGarnetpalmetto From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5361 posts, RR: 53
Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4783 times:

Even funnier was when the Pentagon launched an investigation into the Testor company (who make scale models) when they released a model of the F-19 based on designs described from "well placed sources." The model looked NOTHING like an F-117, although it's still the best-selling model plane in history.


South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1643 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4763 times:

If Aurora ever did exist, it is now obsolete. The big push is now towards UNmanned craft of all types, especially in the super high-performance types. I saw a bit on CNN a few days ago about an Air Force project to develop a Mach 8 bomber, unmanned, that can reach anywhere on the globe in 2 hours, from the US. That has to be the wave of the future and an unmanned fighter has to be a high priority.

Remember that the Luftwaffe, in WWII, never came close to running out of planes but it sure as hell ran out of good PILOTS. Same thing for the Japanese.


User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4714 times:

I doubt the pilots' unions will like the idea of UAV's despite the reduction in loss of life, besides, since when has the USAF backed away from a aerospace project without a fight?

I could be wrong about her, Aurora could still be in operation like the YF-12's/A-12's were during the cold war, but until someone tells/shows me otherwise, I think her life and fate was similar to the XB-70 and Bird of Prey.

I know her offical designation was "TPR-583" (from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1994/5) though I do not think she can fit into the category of Tactical Prusuit Recon...  Yeah sure

She is SR, or GR (global recon) or maybe now XGR (experimental global recon)

I'll bet her PED's were so loud keeping her a secret was ridiculus.  Laugh out loud



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineImisspiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6278 posts, RR: 34
Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4665 times:

In the year 2021 the wraps will come of the true operational abilities of the SR-71. That's 60 years after it's first flight. what does this have to do with "Aurora?" Just a bit as times have changed since LBJ announced the RS-71, I mean, SR-71.

Let me say what I can then. The Aurora project is not what many people think. Not by a long shot. Still classified, just nothing really special by today's public information.

There are aircraft flying today that will not be known publically for many years and that is as it should be. Do I know what they are? No, not really as my clearance (need to know if you will) lapsed some years ago. I just have history to work with.

Trust the old man, me, on this.



Quit calling an airport ramp "Tarmac" and a taxiway "runway".
User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1257 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (10 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4636 times:

Lehpron,

Your right... though the Air Force does not have Pilot Unions per se, most of the senior Air Force Officers are former pilots, and they have tended to be fairly unreceptive to UCAV technology (though there are a number of exceptions).

Also, again, the Bird of Prey was not cancelled... it was a concept demonstrator. That doesn’t mean there is not more to its story... but that’s another topic. The true products of its work may very well still be flying, and we might not know about them for many years...

I'm still willing to bet we have something with a mission profile comparable to the SR-71 still flying... I know a couple of folks in the intelligence community, and though they haven't told me anything about Aurora, they all agree satellites are not sufficient by themselves.



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
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