X projects have helped us build some of the most successful technologies ever. It was an X project that got Lindburg to fly across the Atlantic and it has helped spur our first commercial space program. But now the X moniker is being lent to a new, hybrid Air Force Jet Fighter, dubbed the “F-X”.
The Air Force’s cheif scientist, Mark Maybury, has been at the drawing board and he’s sketched out a future in which US military jets are equipped with battery-powered flight (backed by internal combustion), an extensive avionics package which includes lasers, radar reflection and evasion, heat detection and even the ability to inject computer malware into enemy computers. (Think Iran‘s Stuxnet nuclear bug).
Maybury is looking to use super capacitors to store excess energy generated by the jet’s engines to such an extent that they would power all the on-board electrical systems and be able to handle the huge current draws that we expect from the laser and directed-beam energy weapons systems of the future.
Not a bad idea, but also not a big reach idea either. Improved motor designs, such as a combined-cycle motor are likely to win more wars and save energy while doing so.
- New Air Force Jet Concept: Like a Prius, But With Lasers (wired.com)
- How a hybrid works (telegraph.co.uk)