DARPA's Walrus and Griffith's War-Balloons
DARPA's Walrus program to develop and evaluate a very large airlift vehicle has moved forward; DARPA announced the contractors for the first phase of the program. Despite early descriptions of "war-balloons" in late nineteenth century science fiction, this isn't your father's (not to mention great-grandfather's) dirigible airship. According to DARPA's press release, "the Walrus aircraft will be a heavier-than-air vehicle and will generate lift through a combination of aerodynamics, thrust vectoring and gas buoyancy generation and management."
(Aeros Walrus Early Concept Design)
The two contractors receiving Walrus phase I awards are:
According to DARPA:
- Lockheed Martin Corp., Advanced Development Programs, Palmdale, Calif., which will receive $2,989,779
- Aeros Aeronautical Systems Corp., Tarzana, Calif., which will receive $3,267,000
A key goal of the Walrus program is to establish clear and
credible solutions that provide confidence that earlier airship-era limitations will be overcome.
In particular, an early focus of the program will be the investigation of advanced breakthrough
technologies that will support the development of innovative lift and buoyancy concepts that do
not rely on off-board ballast.
The Walrus operational vehicle (OV) is envisioned to have the primary operational task
of deploying composite loads of personnel and equipment (for example, the components of an
Army Unit of Action) ready to fight within six hours after disembarking the aircraft. Walrus will
operate without significant infrastructure and from unimproved landing sites, including rough
ground having nominal five-foot-high obstacles. It is intended to carry a payload of more than
500 tons 12,000 nautical miles in less than seven days at a competitive cost. Additionally,
Walrus will be capable of performing theater lift and supporting sea-basing and persistence
missions to meet a range of multi-Service needs.
The idea of using enormous dirigibles for heavy lifting in warfare is not a new idea. In his forgotten 1893 classic The Angel of the Revolution, George Griffith wrote about a coming World War fought with air-ships and war-balloons:
...The war-balloons were to be kept for purposes of transportation of heavy articles to Aeria, while the fleet of air-ships was to remain the sole effective fighting force in the world.
(Read more about war-balloons)
Read the DARPA Walrus press release, see the
Aeros Walrus description and take a look at a draft copy of DARPA Walrus solicitation (linked from this page). And I put a copy of a picture of the Thunderbird 2, a very similar fictional craft, in the comments.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/7/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )
Related News Stories -
Rollkers Walking Skates
'Each had three small, rubber-covered wheels, one in front and two in the rear.'- Hugo Gernsback, 1911.
Fix Michigan Roads, Or Get Hovercars?
'Dead for many years was the old concept of smooth, hard-surfaced, almost polished highways...'- Clifford Simak, 1961.
Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard! This is not just a test track, or a scale model. This is the real deal.
Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Zap Space Debris With Telescope Laser On ISS
'... their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites...'
Moran Cerf, When Will We Get Neuro Tech For Ourselves?
If brainwave-sensing consumer products tickle your fancy...
Velkess Energy Storage System (It's A Flexible Flywheel!)
'The kinetic man unjacked Lalji’s kink-springs from the winding treadmills...'
Performance Enhancing Drugs - In Gaming?
'A faint smell of rachag stimulant wafted down the table.'
Automated Treadmill Adjusts To Your Pace
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched...'
Mr. Anderton, Beware This Long-Range Iris Scanner
Try keeping your eyes shut, Mr. Anderton.
Mini Statues Of You From 3D Images
'...A three-dimensional simulacrum of himself six inches high took form.'
'Forever' Camera Powered By Its Own Images
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'
Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
'I got one of those new electronic cameras... and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Revault Wearable Private Cloud Is Too Vaporous
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
Lumo Projector Turns Kids Rooms Into Bradbury's Veldt
'The walls began to purr and recede... and presently an African veldt appeared...'
Ground Control Space Beer
Ninkasi Brewing Co. has its own space program.
Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Or maybe they aren't bent on world domination.
Gestures Control Spider Robot Army
'What do you think - four spiders, one per floor?'
Hologram Protest World's First
'Their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories