The United States has been able to lead in military technology for decades with DARPA research.
DARPA and ARPA helped with the creation of
* the internet
* GPS (global positioning system)
* stealth fighters
* antimissile systems
* stealth fighters
There was research and development beyond DARPA with the Lockheed Skunkworks.
DARPA’s goal was to help prevent the USA from facing Sputnik situations. This is where the USA was surprised by Russia and other nations getting ahead with military capabilities.
There are now two problems that the USA is facing.
1. The US has massive cost overruns and delays on military projects and procurements. The F-35, new submarines and new aircraft carriers are all costing 2 to 5 times more than previous versions of those weapon systems. The US is having delayed and failed developments of new military technology. The Electromagnetic launching system in the new Ford aircraft are costing far more and having years of delays.
The US used to be able to develop and successfully implement groundbreaking military technology like the SR-71 Blackbird.
The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. It has sustained speeds of over mach 3.2. Each one cost $32 million. It was the first operational aircraft designed around a stealth aircraft shape and materials.
24 December 1957: First J58 engine run
1 May 1960: Francis Gary Powers is shot down in a Lockheed U-2 over the Soviet Union
13 June 1962: SR-71 mock-up reviewed by the Air Force
30 July 1962: J58 completes pre-flight testing
28 December 1962: Lockheed signs contract to build six SR-71 aircraft
25 July 1964: President Johnson makes public announcement of SR-71
29 October 1964: SR-71 prototype (AF Ser. No. 61-7950) delivered to Air Force Plant 42 at Palmdale, California
7 December 1964: Beale AFB, CA, announced as base for SR-71
22 December 1964: First flight of the SR-71, with Lockheed test pilot Robert J “Bob” Gilliland at Palmdale
3 December 1975: First flight of SR-71A (AF Ser. No. 61-7959) in “big tail” configuration
27–28 July 1976: SR-71A sets speed and altitude records (altitude in horizontal flight: 85,068.997 ft (25,929.030 m) and speed over a straight course: 2,193.167 miles per hour (3,529.560 km/h))
15 January 1982: SR-71B, AF Ser. No. 61-7956, flies its 1,000th sortie
The SR-71 was introduced in 1966 and flown until 1998 by the air force and 1999 by NASA.
The SR-71 had major modifications throughout.
The traditional US rocket development has failed to develop new rockets for decades. Elon Musk and SpaceX have shown that rapid technology development and implementation is possible. This will be discussed further in the next article.
2. China has implemented metamaterials for enemy radar absorption and improved active radar. China has deployed a railgun to a navy ship before the United States. China will have an operational hypersonic missile before the USA. China is making large investments in artificial intelligence, quantum computer and other quantum technology.
These show that China is competitive with the USA in science and technology for military systems.
China is able to build and upgrade and incorporate the new technology with more flexibility and speed than the US is currently able. The US used to be able to be faster and more flexible. The US was first with long range bombers, nuclear bombs, the spyplane, precision-guided weapons and many more.
China has developed the teams and systems for military technology surprise
China’s new stealth fighter jet J-20 project has helped with four major goals:
1. Obtaining a new-generation of fighter jet that meets objectives of stealth and other performance
2. Leading technological development. For example the canard structure with satisfactory invisibility and strong supersonic maneuverability that enlarges J-20 range and load. In addition lots of breakthroughs have been made in various aspects including situational awareness, information confrontation and combat coordination. China has switched from catching up to leading technology development in its aviation industry.
3. Creating a new R and D system. Through the development of J-20, Y-20, J-15, Kunlong-600 amphibious plane, etc., China has developed a paper-free digital R and D system to shorten the development cycle and improve quality. The system also incorporates cooperation between military and civilian industries. For example the carbon fiber and other conforming materials are developed by civilian enterprises.
4. The establishment of excellent research teams. In the course of the development of J-20, China has trained lots of young research and development teams.
China has the systems for rapidly designing and implementing technological surprises.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.