• Thursday, September 19, 2019

Featured "Quiet Bird" - Never-Seen Photos Of Boeing's 1960s Stealth Jet Concept That Predicted The Future

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by SvenSvensonov, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov PROFESSIONAL

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    It's been a while since I contributed here, so let's get the ball rolling again!

    ...

    Never-Seen Photos Of Boeing's 1960s Stealth Jet Concept That Predicted The Future

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    [​IMG] For years, all the aviation world knew about Boeing’s secret stealth project from the 1960s was limited to a name and a single mysterious photo. It seemed like a relic out of time, possessing many stealthy design features that wouldn’t exist until decades later, and even then, only in highly classified black projects.

    But Boeing just exclusively provided us with a trove of photos and information for the very first time. After decades in the shadows, here is Boeing’s Kennedy-era “Quiet Bird.”

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    Even Boeing admits that there is very little known about Quiet Bird, also named Model 853, and that official records of the program were likely destroyed in 1970s.

    Yet the tidbits of information that do exist about the concept paint a highly intriguing picture of an aircraft with design elements that have echoed throughout the decades that followed it.

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    The concept dates back to the early 1960s, with a one-half scale model of the aircraft being built sometime between 1962 and 1963. The aircraft was an exercise in utilizing specific materials and shapes to drastically reduce the radar cross-section of a tactical aircraft.

    From this pioneering design, five Boeing “stealth” patents were awarded, and they only appear to have shown up in public records in the early 1990s, decades after they were officially filed.

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    The model of Quiet Bird was said to have been tested at Boeing’s Wichita facility in 1962-1963, all of which occurred on a radar range. No actual flight testing of Quiet Bird itself was said to have happened, though. But the tests were highly successful: they proved that it was possible to drastically decrease the radar signature of a tactical aircraft.

    Still, the concept was not just designed as a shape to test radar reflectivity. Boeing had full plans to develop it into an actual aircraft. Unfortunately for them, the design ended up being too ahead of its time. Even to be adapted as a forward penetrating observation or attack aircraft, and believe it or not, the military had little interest in it.

    This actually makes some sense. At the time, raw performance and increasingly advanced avionics that could allow for either all-weather high-level or low-level penetration of enemy airspace were all the rage. (See also the SR-71, U-2, A-6, and F-111). As it was, this jet wouldn’t have been much of a performer, but it very well could have been invisible to enemy sensors, and with that, who needs performance?

    It would not be until about a decade later that the Pentagon would begin considering aircraft designs with low-observable technology as their primary feature set, later dubbed stealth, as a silver-bullet technology worth pursuing with fervor.

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    When looking at Quiet Bird, especially in these new images and schematics released to us from Boeing, it is amazing how many stealth features that are used in modern day low-observable aircraft designs existed on this 50-year-old concept. The aircraft’s chine-line that separates its smooth, shallowly curved bottom and trapezoid shaped fuselage are key tenants of stealth designs to this very day.

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    The aircraft’s canted tails and exhaust set well forward of its trailing edge are also key features found on many modern combat aircraft that were designed with signature control in mind. This configuration not only helps with lowering radar reflectivity while still providing stability and maneuvering control, but it also shields the aircraft’s hot exhaust signature from the virtually every angle but from directly above and behind.

    Even the aircraft’s gold plated canopy and use of composites structures are all major techniques widely in use today to lower a manned aircraft’s radar signature.

    Quiet Bird’s unique low-observable inlet design and curved duct are meant to shield the aircraft’s highly reflective engine face from radar. A similar setup is used on the majority of stealth aircraft designs today, and Quiet Bird’s configuration is especially reminiscent of the X-47A Pegasus unmanned experimental aircraft:



    In all, a stunning amount of features of Quiet Bird’s design, some of which are below its skin and detailed in these patents (1,2,3,4), are used to various degree on a whole slew of modern aircraft designed with signature control in mind. These include Tacit Blue, B-2, Have Blue/F-117, YF-23, X-32, F-22, Avenger, Global Hawk, and multiple unmanned combat air vehicles including Boeing’s own Phantom Ray.

    Even stealthy cruise missiles will instantly evoke Quiet Bird’s configuration. It is almost as if Boeing spectacularly created a Rosetta Stone for stealth technology before it was even “officially” invented.

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    There is no place where Quiet Bird’s spirit lives on more than in Boeing’s once top-secret Bird Of Prey technology demonstrator. Unlike Quiet Bird, it did get to fly, albeit in the 1990s.

    Even through they were separated by three and a half decades from one another, Bird of Prey was a reboot of sorts of Quiet Bird, meant to package a bunch of experimental low-signature and advanced manufacturing techniques together with flat out performance taking a back seat to raw innovation. They are even similar in design.

    This airframe paved the way for many technologies that allowed Boeing to step into the 21st century ready to compete in the advanced military-aerospace marketplace. These included rapid prototyping, large single-piece composite structures, 3D design, disposable tooling and a host of low observable innovations.

    Boeing’s Exotic Bird Of Prey technology demonstrator:



    Boeing is in no way in denial of Quiet Bird’s indirect impact on many of their products, and possibly others, that followed it over the last five decades, they write:

    The model and drawings do show some stealth concepts that are used in operation stealth airplanes today, so it would seem that the Boeing engineers working on this project were onto something. The lessons learned on Quiet Bird probably did influence the design of the Boeing AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile

    Internally Boeing continued to work on the non-metallic structures aspects that were pioneered with Quiet Bird and that work did eventually lead to the use of increasingly larger and more complex composite structures in Boeing aircraft. In the 1980s Boeing used its expertise in composite (“Stealth”) structures to build the wings and center fuselage structures of the B-2 bomber and today major structures of our commercial jets can be built from composite structures with the primary example being the 787; the first large commercial jet that is primarily made of composite materials.

    Even though Quiet Bird remains something of a mystery even to the company that built it, it potentially changes how we commonly look at the advent of stealth technology today. This design was an incredibly well thought out concept that predated the Pentagon’s stealth initiatives of the mid 1970s,including the XST program, which gave us the Have Blue demonstrator and the F-117 Nighthawk, America’s first (known) operational stealth aircraft.

    Other aircraft emanated from this time period as well, including the game-changing Tacit Blue Battlefield Surveillance Aircraft-Experimental demonstrator and potentially a whole swath of aircraft that remain highly classified.

    Video of Lockheed’s Have Blue stealth technology demonstrator and the F-117 Nighthawk it led to:





    Although other aircraft, namely the A-12 Oxcart/SR-71 Blackbird, had secondary stealth features, Quiet Bird appears to be the first concept to feature a comprehensive low-observable aircraft design. So while Lockheed largely holds the public spotlight as the harbinger of the “stealth revolution,” Boeing was miraculously there with an eerily advanced aircraft concept nearly a decade and a half before Lockheed’s Skunk Works developed its now famous“hopeless diamond” that led to the historic Have Blue technology demonstrator.

    With all this in mind, Quiet Bird deserves its rightful place in history, even if only as an uncannily accurate prediction of what was to come decades later from the world of military technology and “bleeding-edge” aerospace design.
    Never-Seen Photos Of Boeing's 1960s Stealth Jet Concept That Predicted The Future
    @levina @Armstrong @Slav Defence @Gufi
     
  2. AMDR

    AMDR FULL MEMBER

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    Sven is back! sweden.gif
     
  3. Imran Khan

    Imran Khan PDF VETERAN

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    they think some 50 years advanced from rest of world
     
  4. Levina

    Levina BANNED

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    Thanks for the tag.
    This is an awesome find...something like finding an alien ship among Egyptian hieroglyphs or sharks with lasers :)
    Quiet bird would have been in demand if it came into existence after 2000s.
    Btw who was funding this project? CIA?

    I'm just wondering if Boeing could come up with a quiet bird in early 60's then what are they making now??? I might not be alive to see if it's released in next 50yrs. :lol:
    Hard to believe
     
  5. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov PROFESSIONAL

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    Like its spiritual, and obvious (looking at the design), successor the Bird of Prey it was most likely funded partially by Boeing and commissioned by them to study up on emerging tech to gain a competitive advantage in upcoming US projects. I'd expect funding to come from the US military as well, and since this was the 60s and the CIA was heavily involved in air-assets for ISR they could be a possibility too.

    At this point there's so little info on Quiet Bird that I can't be sure.

    I think Boeing meant there's little public knowledge, considering Quiet Bird's influence is apparent in subsequent designs like Bird of Prey I don't think they've lost the know-how. We, the general public, just haven't been as fortunate.

    If you meant that the passage of time hasn't yielded any leaks or releases of info, it's also important to consider that Quiet Bird's design elements are still relevant to stealth even today, so releasing info might not be in Boeing's best interest.

    The resemblance between Quiet Bird (1960s) and Bird of Prey (1990s) is rather visible.

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    You wouldn't be surprised to know what we can do these days. At this point I think almost everyone expects the US military to break the boundaries of "possible". Sci-fi isn't just for fun any more, it's fast becoming reality.

    Thanks in-part to researchers like myself (military medicine), we've gone from this in the 2000s:

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    To this ten years later:

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    And that's only what's been released for public consumption in a small sector or a large R&D capacity. Our military is beyond "cutting edge".

    If you can think of it, we're developing it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  6. gambit

    gambit PROFESSIONAL

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    We got stuff today that will be 'sci-fi' to a lot of people. When the F-117 was retired, it was because of the B-2, F-22, and F-35. When we stopped production of the F-22, it was mainly because of budgetary constraints, but it was also because we already have something to replace the F-22 in all of its technology.

    I do not agree with the notion that the F-22 and F-35 will be the last manned fighters. Base on what I know, unmanned platforms will supplement manned platforms in terms of providing auxiliary battlespace visions for the manned platforms. The pilot will be less a pilot than he will be a killer. His reach will be long and execution of arms will be swift and unexpected because he and his combat mates will be able to co-opt unmanned platforms, armed and unarmed, at will.

    People make the mistake of thinking that what they see in the news today is what we will be using in future conflicts. They saw what happened in Viet Nam and they think that is all the US can do. They simply cannot accept the fact that the US military is the most self critical organization, civilian and military, in the world. Their worldview is not so much 'world' as it is self created blinders created by their countries' limited technology and warfare experience.
     
  7. Penguin

    Penguin PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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  8. ali_raza

    ali_raza SENIOR MEMBER

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    isn't it enough to give life to those conspiracies that Americans have aliens on there side who give them technologies in return for exploring the earth and all those wars are because the want to protect there aliens friends projects???!!!!
     
  9. m haris khan

    m haris khan FULL MEMBER

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    There is no match of American technology China would require 100 years to compet in technology with America .
    Not copied making and taking help of Russians in technology.
     
  10. Slav Defence

    Slav Defence THINK TANK VICE CHAIRMAN: ANALYST

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    Hey sven,
    Welcome back bro,and how is technogiantist whose account were you using?haven't seen her for long time as well:D
    Sorry for the late reply,but am damn busy these days.CS-II has been initiated as well.
    Amazing work,set as featured! :)


    regards
     
  11. Taygibay

    Taygibay PROFESSIONAL

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    With Sven's second post and Gambit's addendum, you have the top tier of advanced applied science :
    Space, mili, high end medicine and computer science.

    In these domains, performance is based on the safe&secure duality.
    1- Incidents costs life, you have to do it right : no mishaps!
    2- Results have to come, the thing has to work when required!

    A nation that excels in all these fields is top tier too, de facto.

    There is one more technological field that needs mentioning as it links all of the above and that is nu-
    clear research, applied from the basics to the bomb and further, say from particle accelerators* onward.

    The societal counterparts to these are then economy, democracy & infrastructure.
    Combine all of the above and you've pretty much got it made to philosophize away.**

    The post war years ( 50s-60s until first oil crisis - 72 - ) were comfortable and allowed very active
    progression in these domains. In aeronautics, that's when most "modern ideas" emerged from stato
    jet engines to stealth. The guys of that era pretty much cleared every option to the exception of the
    rise of reduced and thus mobile computers that came in the 1970 to 1990 score of years.

    At their confluence though lies cybernetics which will inevitably change our species durably.
    Matrix anyone?

    Thanks Sven and good evening all, Tay.


    * Big ones.
    ** Not necessarily as comforting a result as onlookers may think.
     
  12. Levina

    Levina BANNED

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    Well I do know that Boeing calls such projects black holes. Last I heard Boeing was working on anti-gravity flights. whatever happened to that project now.

    Frankly speaking, sans the cockpit quiet bird would look like an UAV. And its features are same as Rat 55 or so i read.

    Btw thanks for explaining it point-wise. :)
     
  13. Neutron

    Neutron PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Lockheed Martin's F-117A 'Nighthawk' Stealth Fighter was the first stealth combat aircraft to fly; its angular shape was driven by the limits of computer modeling in the late 1970s. F-117_Nighthawk_Front-980x610.jpg
     
  14. Tipu7

    Tipu7 SENIOR MEMBER

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  15. Tipu7

    Tipu7 SENIOR MEMBER

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    For stealing ideas with force you need barbaric butchers as leaders.
    Muslim World is yet to produce any one to match "kill score" of Hitler, Stalin or Troman
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015