Feeds

Pentagon looks to revive Nazi space-bomber plan

Pocket 'Antipodes raid' hyper-smartmissiles sought

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US military appears to have temporarily given up on exotic scramjet powered hyper-plane and -missile notions for the purpose of suddenly blowing things up at short notice anywhere in the world. Rather, Pentagon boffins are now re-examining a plan once considered by the Nazis for the purpose of bombing America.

Antipodean flight profile as expected of the 1940s 'Silbervogel' rocketplane design

Ha - Take that, Amerikaner pigdogs! What do you mean, they didn't notice?

The boffins in question are our old friends at DARPA, the US military asylum for mad scientists, who see further into the future of warfare by standing on the shoulders of giants - if necessary, immense robot colossi or genetically engineered titanoid abominations of their own manufacture. In this case, however, they seem to be following a more conventional Isaac Newton-style policy of basing their work on that of great past practitioners in their field.

Very few groups have been more illustrious in the field of mad futuristic weapons than the Nazi rocketeers of World War II, and thus it is no surprise to find DARPA making a new push to resurrect one of their notions: that of the Boost-Glide extra-atmospheric suborbital weapons platform.

German boffins of the 1940s developed detailed plans (pdf) for a so-called Silbervogel ("Silver Bird") rocket bomber which would have soared high into space and then travelled many thousands of miles by skipping like a flung stone on water around the top of the atmosphere. It was thought by its designers that the amazing machine might be able to circumnavigate the globe like this, dropping off a bomb en route as it sailed above America; or at any rate make a landing in Japanese-held territory after such a raid. These abilities led to it being dubbed the "antipodal bomber" in some circles.

The Silbervogel plan was considered as part of Nazi aspirations to mount strikes against the USA - the so called "Amerika Bomber" project - but never actually flew. However the plans caused a good deal of activity by the rival superpowers after the war: perhaps most famously the X-20 Dyna-Soar project in the US, which would have used a Silbervogel-esque flight profile for global strike or surveillance missions. The X-20 would have launched vertically atop a conventional throwaway rocket; its Nazi predecessor was to be fired into the air by a powerful rocket catapult/sled affair running on rails.

In the event the X-20 didn't get off the ground either, but a rather less well-known Boost/Glide platform eventually did, namely the unmanned Boost Glide Re-entry Vehicle test of 1968. The BGRV lifted into space from Vandenberg airforce base in California atop an Atlas F missile rocket and re-entered over the Pacific, eventually splashing down in the vicinity of Wake Island some 3,000 miles away.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.