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« A Little Bit Future, A Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll | Main | Remember These? »


Dennis McGuire

Interesting article but what do all those people in the long line of cars do all day in the parking lot since the jets have already pulled away?


Speculative articles of this type are in no way detrimental to national security. If aviation journalists and enthusiasts can think of these possibilities, so can the people who's job it is to spy on us and try to counter our technology...and they probably already have. We only know of what we are allowed to see, so our speculation doesn't harm anybody. A couple of inaccuracies in the article though. The F-117 was first used in combat in Panama in 1989, and Northrop's Tacit Blue was a technology demonstrator (not designed for any specific purpose).

J D Baldwin

1) The Special-Ops Infiltrator is very similar to a design by Robert Bartini (Russian of italian descent) how worked on WIGs & ekranoplans for his work see book: Russia's Ekranoplans isbn: 1-85780-146-6. Shows other example's of WIG with ducted lift fans. The weakness with in-wing fans is that their are a dead weight for 95% of the flight. Better to use vectored
thrust duct fans where can blow air downwards for lift and rearwards for flight

2)The Boeing design for a combined heium balloon & wing shape certainly isn't new - do websearch on Skycat. Combines Helium balloon, with lifting body shape and hovercraft landing gear.

3) The hypersonic Aurora has been talked about for years. BAe & a Japanese company have recently test small Scramjet engine fixed in the 'small' scale aircraft by mounting on a test rocket & launching it (in Australia I think).

Orange Herald

I am amazed that PopSci and its readers are still being hoodwinked by the great 'secret airplane' conspiracy. WAKE UP. The fantasy aircraft of Area 51 are a cover to hide the real truth – a truth that is the greatest threat to national security of all.

Bill Sweetman (who by his own account is fluent in Chinese, Venusian and Klingon) is at the heart of this cover up by presenting a 'rational' explanation for what is clearly alien technology at large on this planet. The glimpses of 'secret aircraft' are - in fact - alien vehicles being tested by extraterrestrials and hu-mans, with sinister implications for us all.

Has anyone asked why Bill Sweetman and the Excelsior Overlord B'ong-oo have never been seen in the same room together? Well??

These are the questions you should be asking.


If a reporter can uncover it, its not a secret.


What I find really stupid is the whole "national security"BS-just who are these wonder weapons to be used against? is there a polit leader on the planet that doesn't know ae allready have the power to turn ANY country into unliveable slag?you want to see real tech advances? take the "secret" classification away,release all the information we citizens have paid for,and stand back!


Wow the only bit of this article that was rehashed from the conspiracy theory 90's was the tidbit about Polecat. I canceled Popular Mechanics for wastes of space like this story.


^^^ wasn't rehashed ^^^

James Burt

One of the puzzles concerning the black world is why air-breathers like Aurora continue to be developed if "electrogravitic" vehicles exist. Perhaps Aurora is ready for marketing? Sure would be a gas-guzzler!!!

Will the allies buy it (and in enough quantity to reverse the trade imbalance)!!! Wait, our main imbalance is with China. I get it. This is old stuff we can sell them.

Damn it's hard to figure out your policies. They seem to be post-rational. Perhaps the sonic boom from these things are a psywar device to elict dread in the toiling slaves below? At least sufficient to encourage them to continue to remit revenues!!! Of course, if they don't have JOBS that PAY then they wouldn't be able to do that but I guess that is a pedestrian concern to your highnesses.

Neil Wilkes

Alien recovered technology is doubtless at the heart of a lot of the stuff currently under test - we almost certainly don;t know how to reproduce it any more than a Kalahari Bushman could reverse engineer a Sony HandyCam.
The reason it is - and must be - secret is because the vast majority of people are simply happy in their ignorance. Truth be told, most people don;t want to know and don't care.
All they want, in real terms, is fortomorrow to be much the same as Today was:
A roof overtheir heads, warmth, food to eat & somebody to care if they are allright or not.

Any alien civilization could walk in any Sunday Afternoon they cared to. If they can get here, then they are years, if not centuries ahead of us anyway. And exactly what could we do to stop them - assuming we should even try. Ifthey were not basically altruistic, then they would already have assumed the freehold anyway. What they almost certainly are is curious about who weare - a seriously aggressive, socially immature species who are on the edge of being able to take our first stumbling steps into the galaxy. Hell, we monitor places like Iran, and rightly so - yet we don't help them as this would be like handing our muggers a Magnum 45.

These things must remain hidden.

Timothy A. Ruane

Educated speculation is okay with me.


Speculation is perfectly harmless. The enemy obviously does it aswell. If these "black world" programs can not hide their projects from, us, the public; then there is no way that they can keep their "business" secretive. It's laughable if you actually think the US's enemies read PopSci for Recon and Intel.


Speculation is fantastic for thoese involved in black ops if u think abt it thats a great benifit for thoese involved in black projects.
my reason for this is as follows.
in the event a hostile speculates wrongly,funds, time and talent are wasted in the development of counter stratagies on non-exisiting threats. aint that a bonus?
and i wont say its a national threat simply because as said above the US enemys wont just trust the word of an independent. but rather take the words of there own specialist.

Doruk Seyfi

I am a person who is not an American citizen. I am Turkish by origin, but live in Australia and am Muslim in my beliefs.

All of what was written today could all be correct indeed and the citizens of the USA do have a right to know where their tax-money is going and exactly what the US is doing.

However, the technology that the USA is keeping secret is crucial to the prevention of development of tactics and technology that could possibly counter the technology produced by your government.

Ultimately, I totally agree with what Rog says about the American quality of life compared to third world countries. In addition, Neil Wilkes is also correct. Most of the population really don't care about National Security policies as much as they do about everyday quality of life and family.

One way or another, it is inevitable that America will continue to develop its war-machine both technologically and numerically.

In terms of the terrorist threats to America, there is none. 9/11 was allowed to happen. During that day, all flights in the country were grounded except the plane carrying the members of the Bin-Laden family. Mr. Bush, could you explain this? And as DEAN said, the technology revealed in this article is probably years old. According to the author Dan Brown, American military technology is at least 12 years ahead of all civilian and military technology anywhere else in the world, including the civilian technologies of the United States.

Account Deleted

Of course, this COULD all be a disinformation campaign. Remember the brou-ha-ha about the all curves F-19 Stealth fighter ? The one that never existed outside of some plastic model kits and a nifty computer game ???

Who knows. . .



Dennis Stager, Retired USN

Classified information is there for a reason, it prevents the ID 10 T factor from compromising something that can be used against our country.. Need to know is a valid point, curiosity is not a need to know, just a brag point or nosey parker item... Close the door on folks who would give away the farm... cheers to all who serve... Dennis Stager,,, USN retired.

Randy Maas

I'm so tired of people in the know, slipping tidbits of secret stuff for all to know. What is going on at area 51? None of your damned business!

John Pechette

Bill Sweetman's articles are always great fun. This type of informed speculation reminds me of NFL draft previews which, more often than not, diverge wildly from eventual reality. Is Sweetman correct? I hope so. Does his opinion compromise national security? No. Even if the technology he describes does exist, our adversaries have no hope of countering or duplicating it. So where's the harm?

Chris Martinez

Do what you do. We live in a free world and free is how it will remain. Peace and Love.


I don't think it is. unless you are a stupid bush republican. I want to know what the hell the government is spending my $905.45 in taxes they take every month...i work very hard for my money. this should be reason enough to know everyting they do.

Dennis Reiley

You have an error that has crept in. The successor to the A-12 is the SR-71. The A-12 was originally designed as an escort fighter for the B-70. When the B-70 was cancelled the A-12 had its strakes lengthened noseward and cameras installed in the lengthened section. It is likely the original weapons bays were retained. The designation SR-71 came about when President Johnson misspoke and called the RS-71 the SR-71. Rather than contradict the President and also probably to hide capabilities, the Air Force changed its designation from Reconnaisance Strike to Strategic Reconnaisance. Also it is likely when the SR-71 was retired in 1991 it was because its replacement (Aurora or something similar) became operational. The fact that the SR-71 was brought out of retirement makes it likely that its replacement encountered problems and was grounded. I've often wondered if the 71 in SR-71 revealed either its first flight or it operational date.


In my reasonably education opinion. I believe that for the most part americas security as well as the security of all developed nations lies in make technology as advanced and complicated as possible and letting the world masses know it is out there. Terrorists are for the most part an ignorant and uneducated lot. They are really only able to attack when the modern nations of the world develope simplified destructive technologies. Automatic firearms, and rocket propelled grenades have point and click interfaces that dont require any kind of a manual. Children can and have used them.

The 9/11 terrorists had no idea how to fly those planes before they learn to fly at commercal aircraft schools in the US.

The chemical explosive that was reported in the last newsworthy terrorist fiasco would not have worked. Triacetone triperoxide was the peroxide based explosive that they planned to use. It was reported by numerous chemists and chemical engineers that they could not have produced that binary compound with the materials that they had. They apparently needed a strong cooling source like dry ice or potentially liquid nitrogen depending on the volume of the desired end product. Not things available on a plane. Frozen CO2(dry ice) is specificly not allowed on aircraft. These terrorist are not educated people.

But how stupid does someone have to be to blow them selves up intentionally?

I would love for every terrorist to speculate wildly about futuristic technology that may or maynot exist. If enough "wild technology" information is leaked maybe they will think twice about killing innocent people.

Developed nations dont have murderous scientists and engineers but 3rd world countries absolutely have illiterate warlords commiting genocide.

Any sufficently advanced technology is occasionally indestinguishable from magic to the uneducated observer.

Dennis Reiley

Speculation is just that - speculation. It is more likely to be wrong than right. I think the speculation tells the military what to say or not say to present the view they want seen.

Mark Vorster

There is also something gained from speculation.
I,m sure the right hints are dropped into press ears.The Russian were destroyed by speculation and they mass produced millions of weapons to combat the speculation that maybe the West really did have more and more advanced weapons so the Russians just built more just in case.The result was bankruptcy.The US designed the B70 that never flew operationally only as a prototype,the Ussr replied with a very fast but usless Mig 25.They simply built hundreds of them.They were afraid of the speculation and roumours of Reagans Starwars project.That caused them to fear and spend more on creating "better" missile subs so they could be launched closer to to the west and make vectoring weapons dificult for defence systems.The star wars project is still not yet acceptable.The short of it speculation can drive fear into your enemy because He too knowns its speculation but part of him is not sure if it is only speculation.He may just hesitate to attack if he is convinced he may fail and lose.

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