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Shape-Shifting Bomber In Need Of Plowsharing

Shape-shifting supersonic bomber fans are feeling bereft this weekend, as the Pentagon officially nixed its Switchblade project.

The idea was that Switchblade would sail jauntily along well below the speed of sound in one configuration, and then morph into a supersonic configuration and ease through the sound barrier.

DARPA gave Northrup Grumman more than $10 million to come up with prototype designs; check out the Switchblade shape-shifting bomber video below.


(Switchblade shape-shifting bomber concept video)

Unfortunately, after at least a thousand different virtual test runs, DARPA decided that the plane just wouldn't fly.

There's nothing wrong with coming up with amazing designs for weapons and weapon delivery systems that don't work. In fact, you might just go ahead and plowshare them before building them, anyway.

In Philip K. Dick's marvelous 1965 novel The Zap Gun, military ideas were immediately plowshared, that is, they were turned to peaceful uses immediately. There must be some sort of peacetime use for this idea.

From Wired via our friends at frolix_8

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/5/2008)

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