USA's Darpa plots giant FLYING aircraft carrier like Nick Fury's Avengers ship
THE PENTAGON is planning to change the face of warfare with the development of flying aircraft carriers.
The experimental planes would take the form of a mothership that deploys drones instead of fighter jets, The Economist reports.
Military bosses believe that carriers would be safer in the skies than in the sea, where they're vulnerable to long-range missiles.
They would more closely resemble the "helicarriers" featured in the Marvel Avengers films than the floating runways that prowl the oceans today.
Modern aircraft carriers take the form of 400,000-tonne ships that stretch up to 1,092 feet (333 m) long– or about four times the length of the Titanic.
The United States Navy has 11 nuclear-powered carriers. Each holds around 80 fighter jets and up to 6,000 personnel.
American naval planners are concerned that the ageing craft are vulnerable to new, manoeuvrable ballistic missiles developed by China.
Darpa, the Department of Defence's advanced research and development arm, has proposed a solution, according to The Economist.
The plan would involve converting conventional aircraft into airborne carriers that deploy cheap, unmanned drones called Gremlins by dropping them out of the sky.
The missile-shaped gadgets would swarm enemies, carry out surveillance and possibly even engage in combat.
Aircraft would then retrieve the drones in the air using a small pod that dangles from the carrier like fly tape.
Early testers have yet to stick a landing, according to the Economist, though a handful have come within a few centimetres of success.
Once the Gremlins are collected, the carrier would transport them home, where ground crews could prepare them for their next use.
According to Darpa's website, the Gremlins would be ready to fly again within as little as 24 hours.
Terrifying space weapons of the future
Here are three of the scariest…
Rods from God
- A strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed "rods from the God" and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.
- Instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are deployed.
- These would be made out of tungsten — a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth's atmosphere.
- One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth's atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.
- Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon — but crucially creating no radiation fall out.
- As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report recently revealed the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.
Molten metal cannons
- This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
- It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.
- This game changing rail-gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.
- The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside.
Space force ships
- Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.
- The top secret American XS-1 under development by DARPA.
- It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.
- Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.
The project, also called Gremlins, might sound bonkers, but it offers a way to keep the Navy's carrier fleet relevant as missile technology advances at breakneck pace.
China's DF-26 missile developed in 2018 has a range of over 3,100 miles (5,000 km) and has been dubbed the "carrier killer".
That's because it's launched from a lorry and can carry out long-distance, precision strikes on ground and naval targets.
The threat is imposing enough to keep America's aircraft carriers at least 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from China's coast, according to Bryan Clark, a naval strategist at the Hudson Institute, a think-tank.
In other news, the US military is reportedly developing a laser weapon that can generate the sound of a voice out of thin air.
The US Army is also testing a 50-kilowatt laser weapon that incinerates drones, helicopters, planes and missiles.
And, here are the weirdest things lost by Uber passengers – including a jetpack and a bulletproof vest.
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