Feeds

Northrop offer supersonic robot stealth raygun cyber-bomber

Bells and whistles cupboard emptied in one

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Needless to say, the new cyber bomber would also be able to deploy a fearful panoply of meatspace missiles or smart bombs, up to and including the deep-bunker busting fifteen tonne Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

It would also be able to act as the command ship for an air/ground robot armada, perhaps including the US Navy's planned robot strike fighters, reconnaissance drones, cruise missiles and whatnot.

There is a real opportunity for NGLRS and [upcoming unmanned stealth fighters] to operate in unison, collaboratively finding and fixing targets then sharing them ... the netted “wolfpack” could extend to non-airborne weapon systems ... This “netting” of systems allows rapid transmission of intelligence and targeting data, reducing the kill chain.

As first delivered, the cyber bomber would have stealth - possibly "fourth generation" or "ultra" stealth, as opposed to the measly Stealth 2.0 found on today's B-2. The NGLRS would start out boringly subsonic and human-crewed, but "upgrades might lead to supersonic and unmanned variants" according to Haffa and Isherwood.

But a mere supersonic, uncrewed stealth cyberbomber doesn't satisfy Bill Sweetman of Aviation Week. He is of the opinion that Northrop is already building a secret, or "black" prototype along these general lines, and he reckons that the uberplane would also need to feature a directed-energy weapon - a raygun - for the purpose of knocking down or blinding those pesky double-digit missiles. He asked Isherwood, presenting the Northrop paper, about that possibility:

Today's laser-based infra-red countermeasures (IRCM) systems can blind an IR-homing missile; tomorrow's [rayguns] will be powerful enough to negate a radar-guided missile, Isherwood says ...

Which seems to be everything you could possibly ask for - a robotic wolfpack-leading supersonic stealth cyberbomber, with a frikkin laser on it. And/or a possible electropulse cannon for the radar missiles, although American boffins are already working on ways to make radars electropulse proof.

So - how much would one of these babies cost, exactly?

Haffa and Isherwood, like all good salesmen of big-ticket items, are reluctant to talk price too soon. Indeed, they even admit that Boeing and Lockheed together might be able to put together an NGLRS contender to rival theirs - the US airmen don't have to buy it from Northrop. Provided the air force orders enough planes to get a discount, they breezily say that "the NGLRS should be affordable". ®

* That is SA-10 and later weapons, as opposed to antique SA-5s, SA-7s etc.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.