Saturday, August 13, 2022



Russian Slava-class guided-missile cruiser Moskva in the Mediterranean Sea, December 17, 2015.Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

On March 9, 1862, the Union warship Monitor met its Confederate counterpart, Virginia. After a four-hour exchange of fire, the two fought to a draw. It was the first battle of ironclads. In one day, every wooden ship of the line of every naval power became immediately obsolete.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. If the battle of the ironclads settled once and for all the wood-versus-iron debate, Japanese carrier-based aircraft settled the battleship-versus-carrier debate by sinking the cream of America’s battleship fleet in a single morning.

On April 14, 2022, the Ukrainians sank the Russian cruiser Moskva with a pair of Neptune anti-ship missiles. And that success posed an urgent question to the world’s major militaries: Has another age of warfare just begun? After 20 years spent fighting the post-9/11 wars, the United States military’s attention is again focused on a peer-level adversary. The Pentagon hasn’t been thinking this way since the Cold War, and it is attempting a profound transformation. Today, fierce debate attends this transformation, and nowhere more acutely than in the Marine Corps.

US Navy Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam in the South China Sea.Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/U.S. Navy via AP, File

The US Navy is trying to retire all of its guided-missile cruisers by 2027.

US cruisers are specialized for air defense and are among the best-armed naval ships in service.

Lawmakers are dismayed by the Navy plan, believing it will reduce US firepower as China's navy grows.

In April, the US Navy presented an ambitious plan to decommission all 22 of its Ticonderoga-class cruisers by 2027.

The move is not surprising. The Navy has tried to rid itself of its cruisers for years, but Congress has consistently rejected its proposals, largely out of concern that decommissioning them would take away a much-needed weapon as China's naval force continues to grow.

With the retirement of the last battleships nearly 20 years ago, cruisers are the largest surface combatants — a category that generally doesn't include aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships — in service.

Cruisers remain among the best armed and most powerful ships in the few navies that employ them, and decommissioning the Ticonderogas would take the US out of that small and very well-armed club.
The Ticonderoga-class

Guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens fires SM-2 missiles during an exercise in the Pacific Ocean, September 20, 2012.REUTERS/Paul Kelly/U.S. Navy photo

Twenty-seven Ticonderoga-class cruisers were built between 1980 and 1994. They have an extensive service history, with high-profile operations all over the world. The 567-foot ships displace about 10,000 tons, and they are the US Navy's most heavily armed surface combatants.

Two Mk 41 Vertical Launching Systems, each with 61 cells, can carry up to 122 missiles. Two Mk-141 missile launchers can carry up to eight more missiles. Ticonderogas are also equipped with two Mark 45 5-inch guns, two Phalanx close-in weapon systems, and two triple-tubed Mark 32 torpedo tubes.

They can be armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, and vertical-launch anti-submarine missiles, as well as anti-satellite and anti-ballistic missiles.

Guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg escorts aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt through the Strait of Gibraltar, March 31, 2015.US Navy/MCS Seaman Anthony Hopkins II

Their large and diverse arsenal allows Ticonderogas to fill multiple rules, including air-defense, anti-ship anti-submarine warfare, and land-attack strikes. They primarily serve as air-defense escorts in carrier strike groups, as they have the most robust air-defense capability in the surface fleet.

They were also the first ships to be equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which uses computers and radars to track hostile forces and guide friendly fire toward incoming threats.

Because of the Ticonderogas' status and armament, their stand-alone deployments are usually meant to convey a message, as with USS Port Royal's transit of the Taiwan Strait in May.
The Kirovs and Slavas

Soviet nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser Kirov, December 22, 1989.US Navy/PH1 Davis

The Russian Navy fields two types of cruisers. The most well-known and feared are the Kirov-class, four of which were built between 1974 and 1998.

Classified as "battlecruisers" because of their heavy armament, the Kirovs are 827 feet long and displace about 28,000 tons. Their nuclear propulsion gives them range limited only by the crew's endurance and their supplies.

Designed to destroy American carrier groups, their primary armament are 20 P-700 supersonic anti-ship missiles, each capable of carrying a 1,600-pound high-explosive warhead or a nuclear one. Kirovs also carry 136 surface-to-air missiles and six close-in weapon systems, as well as one double-barreled 130mm gun, 10 torpedo tubes, and two anti-submarine rocket launchers.

Only two Kirov-class battlecruisers, Pyotr Velikiy and Admiral Nakhimov, remain in service. Pyotr Velikiy is the flagship of the powerful Northern Fleet, while Admiral Nakhimov has been undergoing modernization since 1999, though Russian officials say it will delivered this year.

Russian Slava-class guided-missile cruiser Moskva in the Mediterranean Sea, December 17, 2015.Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Nakhimov's upgrades will allow it to fire Kalibr and Onyx cruise missiles and new anti-submarine weapons, and carry Pantsir-M air-defense systems. Russian officials also claim Nakhimov will be armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles in the future.

In 1976, the Soviets laid down the first of three Slava-class guided-missile cruisers.

At 611 feet long and displacing about 11,000 tons, the Slavas are armed with 16 P-500 cruise missiles in eight distinctive dual launchers on either side of the ship. Each P-500 can carry a 2,000-pound conventional warhead or a nuclear one. Some Slavas have reportedly been armed with more modern P-1000 anti-ship missiles.

Slava-class cruisers also carry 96 surface-to-air missiles, a twin-barreled 130mm gun, six close-in weapon systems, two anti-submarine rocket launchers, and 10 torpedo tubes.

Only two Slava-class cruisers, Marshal Ustinov and Varyag, remain in active service. Marshal Ustinov is assigned to the Northern Fleet and Varyag is the Pacific Fleet flagship. Moskva, the lead ship of the class, was the Black Sea Fleet flagship until it was sunk by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles in April.
The 'destroyers'

Chinese Type 055 guided-missile destroyer Nanchang during Joint Sea-2021, China and Russia's first joint naval patrol, in the Western Pacific on October 19, 2021.Sun Zifa/China News Service via Getty Images

Two countries field warships they designate as destroyers but the US and naval experts classify as cruisers because of their size, displacement, and armament.

China's Type 055, known as the Renhai-class, is the most notable. The International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank has said it "may be the most capable multi-role surface combatant currently at sea."

At 590 feet long and displacing over 12,000 tons, Type 055s are armed with 112 VLS cells capable of launching surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine missiles, anti-ship missiles, and land-attack cruise missiles. They also carry a 130mm gun and a close-in weapons system.

China tested a hypersonic missile aboard a Type 055 earlier this year, and in the future the ships may be armed with anti-ship ballistic missiles designed to kill carriers.

Type 055s are equipped with Type-346A active electronically scanned array radars, a more modern and accurate radar than the passive phased-array radar aboard Ticonderoga-class ships.

ROKS Sejong the Great off the coast of Hawaii during Rim of the Pacific 2010 exercises, July 7, 2010.US Navy/MCS1 Brandon Raile

Eight Type 055s have been built and launched since 2014. At least five have been commissioned and two more are believed to be under construction. Their deployment is already seen as a show of strength — they have been spotted near Japan and Alaska — and they may be a central part of China's future carrier battlegroups.

South Korea's Sejong the Great-class destroyers are also classified by others as cruisers. Three are in active service, each 544 feet long and displacing over 10,600 tons.

Each Sejong the Great-class ship has 128 VLS cells and 16 anti-ship missile launchers in four quad mounts. They are Aegis-equipped and provide early warning of incoming ballistic missiles.

South Korea plans to build three more Sejong the Great-class ships that will have only 88 VLS cells but will be equipped with SM-6 missiles that Seoul plans to buy, allowing them to intercept ballistic missiles.
'Divest to invest'

US Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, April 2, 2009.US Navy/PO2 Class Jesse Dick

The US Navy wants to shed the Ticonderogas — including USS Vicksburg, which is in the middle of a $200 million refit — as part of a broader "divest to invest" strategy to free up resources for newer and more advanced vessels.

While lawmakers and others worry that doing so will leave Navy shorthanded against China, Navy officials argue the cruisers, all of which are over 30 years old, are approaching the ends of their service lives, have outdated electronics, and will cost too much to maintain or refit. Some are even unsafe to operate, Navy officials say.

"They're eating us alive in terms of our ability to get maintenance back on track," Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said in March. "We are paying tens of millions of dollars beyond what we expected to because of growth work and new work on ships that are beyond their service life."

The Navy proposed retiring five cruisers in 2023. In budget documents released this month, the House Armed Services Committee would only allow four retirements and block that of USS Vicksburg, which is one of the youngest of the five on the chopping block, a committee aide told reporters.

The 2023 budget is yet to be finalized, but the documents released this month also direct the Navy to submit a report on the costs of modernizing and extending the service lives of its other cruisers, suggesting the divestment battle will only continue.

In March 2020, the Marine commandant, General David Berger, published “Force Design 2030.” This controversial paper announced a significant restructuring based on the belief that “the Marine Corps is not organized, trained, equipped or postured to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving future operating environment.” That “future operating environment” is an imagined war with China in the South Pacific—but in many ways, that hypothetical conflict resembles the real war in Ukraine.

The military we have—an army built around tanks, a navy built around ships, and an air force built around planes, all of which are technologically advanced and astronomically expensive—is platform-centric. So far, in Ukraine, the signature land weapon hasn’t been a tank but an anti-tank missile: the Javelin. The signature air weapon hasn’t been an aircraft, but an anti-air missile: the Stinger. And as the sinking of the Moskva showed, the signature maritime weapon hasn’t been a ship but an anti-ship missile: the Neptune.

Berger believes a new age of war is upon us. In “Force Design 2030,” he puts the following sentence in bold: “We must acknowledge the impacts of proliferated precision long-range fires, mines, and other smart weapons, and seek innovative ways to overcome these threat capabilities.” The weapons General Berger refers to include the same family of anti-platform weapons Ukrainians are using to incinerate Russian tanks, shoot down Russian helicopters, and sink Russian warships. The successes against a platform-centric Russian Goliath by an anti-platform-centric Ukrainian David have elicited cheers in the West, but what we are witnessing in Ukraine may well be a prelude to the besting of our own American Goliath.

The flying ship is a ground effect vehicle (GEV)  a vehicle that is designed to attain sustained flight over a level surface (usually over the sea), by making use of ground effect, the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface. Among the best known are the Soviet ekranoplans, but names like wing-in-ground-effect (WIG), flarecraft, sea skimmer, or wing-in-surface-effect ship (WISE) are also used.

Design and Construction of Flying Aircraft Carriers Powered by a massless energy storage to increase strength and regidity along the whole body and wings of the flying aircraft carrier. 

My (BWB) blended wing body circular design will make it look like a flying saucer with hull and wing thickness of 25 inches or more making it indestructible in heavy seas, unlike the Russian design.

My design of a huge flying aircraft carrier with SWARMS of ‘Gremlin' drones will be

capable of launching swarms of drones from mid-air.The huge aircraft will quickly release armies of drones to assault enemy targets before returning to dock with their flying mothership. The length of the flight deck shall be no less than 600 feet to accommodate 4 F35 and 3 SB1 attack helicopters. considering the amount of volume located at the wings of a Blended Wing Body (BWB) design, missiles magazines can be stored there and fuel also. Underneath the flight deck is a hangar accessible by 2 elevators.

The flying ship is a ground effect vehicle (GEV)  a vehicle that is designed to attain sustained flight over a level surface (usually over the sea), by making use of ground effect, the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface. Among the best known are the Soviet ekranoplans, but names like wing-in-ground-effect (WIG), flarecraft, sea skimmer, or wing-in-surface-effect ship (WISE) are also used.

Materials of construction shall be that can float on water: Radical new material  a metal matrix could lead to 'indestructible' warships and ultralight cars. Metal matrix composite was developed with the US Army. Alloy is turned into foam by adding strong, lightweight hollow spheres. Warship made of it will not sink despite damage to its structure. Researchers have demonstrated a new type of metal so light it can float on water.
The radical new material, called a metal matrix composite, was developed with the US Army. 
A boat made of such lightweight composites will not sink despite damage to its structure. 
The radical new material, called a metal matrix composite, was developed with the US Army and could be used in everything from warship to cars.
The radical new material, called a metal matrix composite, was developed with the US Army and could be used in everything from warship to cars.


The syntactic foam captures the lightness of foams, but adds substantial strength.
The secret of this syntactic foam starts with a matrix made of a magnesium alloy, which is then turned into foam by adding strong, lightweight silicon carbide hollow spheres developed and manufactured by DST. 
A single sphere's shell can withstand pressure of over 25,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) before it ruptures—one hundred times the maximum pressure in a fire hose.
The new material also promises to improve automotive fuel economy because it combines light weight with heat resistance
Although syntactic foams have been around for many years, this is the first development of a lightweight metal matrix syntactic foam. 
'This new development of very light metal matrix composites can swing the pendulum back in favor of metallic materials,' said Nikhil Gupta, an NYU School of Engineering professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the study's co-author.

It was created by Deep Springs Technology and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering.

'The ability of metals to withstand higher temperatures can be a huge advantage for these composites in engine and exhaust components, quite apart from structural parts.' 

The magnesium alloy matrix composite is reinforced with silicon carbide hollow particles and has a density of only 0.92 grams per cubic centimeter compared to 1.0 g/cc of water. 

Not only does it have a density lower than that of water, it is strong enough to withstand the rigorous conditions faced in the marine environment.Significant efforts in recent years have focused on developing lightweight polymer matrix composites to replace heavier metal-based components in automobiles and marine vessels. 

The technology for the new composite is very close to maturation and could be put into prototypes for testing within three years. 

Amphibious vehicles such as the Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) being developed by the U.S. Marine Corps can especially benefit from the light weight and high buoyancy offered by the new syntactic foams, the researchers explained.

The syntactic foam made by DST and NYU captures the lightness of foams, but adds substantial strength. 


My conceptual design will be without the potruding nose but an upward deck where the planes can be launched in a 30 degree angle at the bow. The wings are fixed and a hybrid Blended Wing Body (BWB). The BWB is a type of tailless flying wing design in which the wing and fuselage are blended together into one seamless body in order to achieve significant improvements in performance over the conventional aircraft, example shown in Fig. 67. Unlike the flying wing design, in which the entire body of the aircraft is a wing, the BWB has a fuselage that is designed as a wing. Therefore, the BWB has a fuselage section that is thicker than the flying wing which allows it to accommodate more payloads. And, unlike a conventional aircraft, the BWB's fuselage acts as a lifting body allowing it to generate lift, rather than acting as an interference component
It will have two twin vertcal stabilizer situated halfway on the wings slanted outward from bow to aft, as the wings will be the whole length of the ship. All engines will be on the other side of the vertcal stabilizer allowing for a clean flight deck and safety for deck personnel.

Placing the Engine The BWB program is examining a new method for engine installation that promises to increase safety and fuel efficiency. Three advanced “high-bypass ratio” engines will be buried in the trailing edge of the outer section of the BWB wing, allowing the center of the craft free for flight deck use. While conventional aircraft engines only take in “free-stream air,” both the air on and near the surface of the wing will flow through the BWB’s curved inlets and into its engines. Taking in the layer of air on the wing surface reduces drag. While this technology will require validation before becoming a reality, researchers are initiating tests to determine acceptable levels of turbulence in the engine inlet

Gambit: The High Speed Missile That Could Transform The U.S. Military

The Gambit missile, based on new technology, could be a game-changer for the U.S. military and bad news for China: Last week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) quietly unveiled a new high-speed missile program called Gambit. The program is meant to leverage a novel method of propulsion that could have far-reaching implications not just in terms of weapons development, but for high-speed aircraft and even in how the Navy’s warships are powered.

This propulsion system, known as a rotation detonation engine (RDE), has the potential to be lighter than existing jet engines while offering a significant boost in power output, range, and fuel efficiency.

The Gambit missile is just one of a number of programs placing a renewed focus on RDE technology, though for the most part, these systems have managed to fly under the media’s radar. That is, except for Aviation Week & Space Technology Defense Editor Steve Trimble, who has covered these recent developments at length. Trimble was kind enough to discuss that work with me as I sought to better understand just how big a deal this technology could be.

Rotation Detonation Engines may not be common in discussion today, but amid the ongoing hypersonic arms race and America’s renewed focus on deterring near-peers, this technology could help offset a number of tactical and strategic advantages presented by America’s opponents in places like Europe and the Pacific…

…And it may be closer than you think.

Gambit means A new kind of propulsion system

Rotating detonation engines have been the subject of theory and speculation for decades, but have yet to cross the barrier between theory and practical application.

In theory, a rotating detonation engine promises to be much more efficient than traditional jet engines, potentially providing missile applications a serious boost in range and speed. That could also mean fielding smaller weapons capable of achieving the same speeds and ranges as today’s missiles.

In aircraft applications like jet fighters, rotation detonation engines could offer similar benefits to missiles in terms of range and speed, while potentially reducing maintenance requirements. Fighters, in particular, rely on afterburners, which effectively firehose fuel into the engine’s exhaust stream for added thrust, which, you can imagine, rapidly depletes fuel stores and reduces the fighter’s range. RDEs could potentially allow for a similar boost in thrust with a dramatically reduced fuel penalty.

But where this technology could be the most useful is in powering the Navy’s future non-nuclear surface vessels, providing increased power production, range, and speed while having a seriously beneficial impact on the Navy’s budgetary bottom line.

Harnessing the power of detonation

The concept behind rotation detonation engines dates back to the 1950s. In the United States, Arthur Nicholls, a professor emeritus of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, was among the first to attempt to develop a working RDE design.

In some ways, a Rotating Detonation Engine is an extension of the concept behind pulse detonation engines (PDEs), which are, in themselves, an extension of pulsejets. That might seem confusing (and maybe it is), but we’ll break it down.

Pulsejet engines work by mixing air and fuel within a combustion chamber and then igniting the mixture to fire out of a nozzle in rapid pulses, rather than under consistent combustion like you might find in other jet engines.

In pulsejet engines, as in nearly all combustion engines, igniting and burning the air/fuel mixture is called deflagration, which basically means heating a substance until it burns away rapidly, but at subsonic speeds.

A pulse detonation engine works similarly, but instead of leveraging deflagration, it uses detonation. At a fundamental level, detonation is a lot like it sounds: an explosion.

While deflagration speaks to the ignition and subsonic burning of the air/fuel mixture, detonation is supersonic. When the air and fuel are mixed in a pulse detonation engine, they’re ignited, creating deflagration like in any other combustion engine. However, within the longer exhaust tube, a powerful pressure wave compresses the unburnt fuel ahead of the ignition, heating it above ignition temperature in what is known as the deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT). In other words, rather than burning through the fuel rapidly, it detonates, producing more thrust from the same amount of fuel; an explosion, rather than a rapid burn.

“The detonation process is a more rapid and efficient extraction of energy from your fuel from a thermodynamic standpoint when compared to deflagration,” Dee Howard endowed professor of hypersonic and aerospace engineering, Dr. Chris Combs, told Sandboxx News.

The detonations still occur in pulses, like in a pulsejet, but a pulse detonation engine is capable of propelling a vehicle to higher speeds, believed to be around Mach 5. Because detonation releases more energy than deflagration, detonation engines are more efficient — producing more thrust with less fuel, allowing for lighter loads and greater ranges.

The detonation shockwave travels significantly faster than the deflagration wave leveraged by today’s jet engines, Trimble explained: up to 2,000 meters per second (4,475 miles per hour) compared to 10 meters per second from deflagration.

In May of 2008, the Air Force Research Laboratory made history by building the world’s first crewed pulse detonation-powered aircraft, using a Scaled Composites home-build plane called the Long-EZ. The unusual franken-plane managed a speed higher than 120 miles per hour during its test flight, with test pilot Pete Siebold at the stick, and reached altitudes between 60 and 100 feet.

“This is a potential game-changer in terms of fuel efficiency,” The AFRL’s Propulsion Directorate’s Fred Schauer said of the PDE powering Long-EZ.

“For comparison, if we had operated this same engine with conventional combustion we would have made less than a third of the thrust for the same fuel burn. In comparison to traditional engines, fuel savings of 5 to 20 percent could be expected.”


The Air Force assessed at the time that improvements to their PDE engine could eventually propel aircraft to speeds beyond Mach 4, and higher if combined with other advanced propulsion systems like scramjets. A rotation detonation engine could be even more effective, but many within the academic and engineering communities questioned whether such an engine could ever actually be built.

The Rotation Detonation Engine Emerges

A rotating detonation engine takes this concept to the next level. Rather than having the detonation wave travel out the back of the aircraft as propulsion, it travels around a circular channel within the engine itself.

Fuel and oxidizers are added to the channel through small holes, which are then struck and ignited by the rapidly circling detonation wave. The result is an engine that produces continuous thrust, rather than thrust in pulses, while still offering the improved efficiency of a detonation engine. Many rotation detonation engines have more than one detonation wave circling the chamber at the same time.

As Trimble explains, RDEs see pressure increase during detonation, whereas traditional jet engines see a total pressure loss during combustion, offering greater efficiency. In fact, rotation detonation engines are even more efficient than pulse detonation engines, which need the combustion chamber to be purged and refilled for each pulse.

“In theory, RDE is a bit like the leap from turbojets to turbofans in the 1960s, but for high-supersonic vehicles. It should give you a big jump in specific impulse (aka fuel efficiency), and if you can figure out how to package it in a way that doesn’t make things significantly heavier or less aerodynamic, you should be able to get a nice range boost out of it,” Trimble explained.

In 2020, a team out of the University of Central Florida, working with the Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine Program at the Air Force Research Laboratory, successfully built and tested the world’s first working rotation detonation engine that continued firing until its fuel was cut off, effectively proving the concept was possible. The three-inch copper test rig developed by the team successfully produced 200 pounds of thrust in laboratory conditions.

Since then, a number of other programs have followed suit, with noted engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney among those leading the charge.

Welcome to Gambit: A new generation of high-speed, long-range weapons

On July 18, DARPA released a Special Notice pertaining to their new Gambit Missile program, announcing a “Proposer’s Day” for firms to get more information about the effort and its aims. Within the notice, DARPA included a description of the program and its objectives, as well as their anticipated timeline, from inception to flight test.“The objective of the Gambit program is to develop and demonstrate a novel Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) propulsion system that enables a mass-producible, low-cost, high-supersonic, long-range weapon for air-to-ground strike in an anti-access/area denial (A2AD) environment.”

The program will be conducted in two 18-month phases. The first will entail competitors completing their preliminary designs with some limited testing, while the second would finalize designs and culminate in full-scale flight tests of an RDE system.

While the release offers scant details on the overarching goals of Gambit, some of the language within the announcement point toward specific challenges America’s defense apparatus currently finds itself facing. The reference to Gambit’s use in an “anti-access/area denial (A2AD) environment” could pertain to anywhere American forces are squaring off against a near-peer adversary. But there’s one such environment that has been the focus of multiple Defense efforts in recent years: the 1,000-mile-plus area denial bubble extending from Chinese shores thanks to a growing array of anti-ship weapon systems.

America’s carrier-based fighters, the F-35C and F/A-18 Super Hornet, each have a combat radius of less than 650 miles, which would mean having to sail carriers into harm’s way to launch combat sorties without longer-range munitions.

The United States obviously has the capability of fielding air-launched missiles with significant range, but it isn’t as simple as mounting a massive rocket under the Super Hornet’s wing, as Trimble points out. The size of these weapons matters a great deal, which is why RDE engines, with their improved efficiency and smaller mass, could be a game changer.

“That is probably most useful for the US Navy, which needs to find a way to equip fighters with long-range, high-speed (Mach 4-6) cruise missiles that are small enough to squeeze onto an aircraft carrier’s weapons elevators and land back on the carrier under a fighter’s wing without slamming into the deck.”

But Gambit isn’t the first new weapon program to leverage rotation detonation engine technology. According to the Air Force Research Lab, RDE technology could make high-speed weapons much more affordable, which is of particular import following a recent Defense Department analysis that indicated the hypersonic (Mach 5+) weapons in development for the Air Force may cost as much as $106 million each.

According to a list of efforts supported by the Pentagon’s High-Performance Computing Modernization program in 2022, the Air Force Research Lab has begun development on at least three RDE weapons or demonstrators.

One aims to field a liquid-fueled rotating detonation scramjet that will power an air-to-surface missile that can be carried internally by 5th generation fighters. Another will leverage solid fuel for an air-to-air missile, and a third effort aims to develop a vehicle for freejet testing on the ground.

RDE technology could eventually also lead to smaller weapons that offer the same range and speed as today’s missiles, allowing stealth aircraft like the F-35 to carry more munitions inside their internal weapons bays. Likewise, missiles of the same size as today’s could fly further faster, which has far-reaching benefits in both air-to-air and air-to-surface operations.

Rotation Detonation Engines could power fighters,  ANTI  RADIATION  MISSILE  LIKE BELOW reaching hypersonic speeds over mach 5  and even the Navy’s warships

Among the weapon-oriented programs being developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory is another rotation detonation engine enterprise that could offer America’s fighters a big boost in range and speed: an RDE that could be used in place of a fighter’s afterburner.

An afterburner effectively combines the remaining oxygen leaving the jet engine with more fuel by spraying fuel directly into the outflow of exhaust. Needless to say, this method of increasing thrust takes a heavy toll on the aircraft’s fuel stores, forcing pilots to choose between speed and range or loiter time.

A rotation detonation engine afterburner could provide an increase in thrust while leveraging the design’s inherent efficiency, providing the same gains for less fuel expended.

In the longer term, air-breathing RDEs could even find their way into the fuselage of an aircraft as the primary means of propulsion. But not all of the potential applications for RDE’s are in the sky. One of the most promising may actually be out at sea.

While the Navy’s aircraft carriers and submarines are famously nuclear-powered, the rest of the fleet still runs on good old-fashioned F-76 marine diesel fuel — an estimated 86 million barrels of it in 2016 alone. So it may come as little surprise to you that the Navy has been very interested in this approach to high-efficiency propulsion. In fact, the Navy filed its own patent for a “rotary detonation engine” as far back as 1982.

According to the Navy in 2012, rotation detonation engines could increase a warship’s thrust by 10% and reduce fuel consumption by 25%, giving them more speed and range for the fuel expended. In 2012, that kind of improvement was projected to result in savings of $300 to $400 million per year, which equates to $387 million to $516 million in today’s dollars.

The truth is, Rotation Detonation Engines could help fighters fly further, missiles fly faster, ships sail longer, and even rocket launches become cheaper. There aren’t many places in America’s defense apparatus this forward-reaching tech couldn’t benefit. And while for many years the question surrounding RDEs was always if, increasingly, it now appears to be when.

Later in the very near future..............

In the twilight of age all things seem strange and phantasmal, 

  As between daylight and dark ghost-like the landscape My heart goes back to wander there, 

And among the dreams of the days that were, 

  I find my lost youth again. 

    And the strange and beautiful song, 

    The groves are repeating it still: 

  "A boy's will is the wind's will, 

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I should not be withheld but that some day 

into their vastness I should steal away, 

Fearless of ever finding open land, 

or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand...RF

    On the road of life one mile-stone more!
    In the book of life one leaf turned o'er!
    Like a red seal is the setting sun
    On the good and the evil men have done,--
         Naught can to-day restore!

    Life is real!  Life is earnest!
      And the grave is not its goal;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
      Was not spoken of the soul. 

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
      Is our destined end or way;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
      Find us farther than to-day. 

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
      And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
      Funeral marches to the grave. 

    In the world's broad field of battle,
      In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
      Be a hero in the strife! 

    Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
      Let the dead Past bury its dead!
    Act,--act in the living Present!
      Heart within, and God o'erhead! 

    Lives of great men all remind us
      We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
      Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
      Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
      Seeing, shall take heart again. 

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
      With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,

      Learn to labor and to wait...

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