Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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F-96 Ghost

The most unstoppable jet fighter ever.
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In testing, shot down 80 drones in a few minutes, was unseen on radar, cruised at mach 2, could dash at mach 4, and using specific targeted drone bombs, wiped out an entire tank column in one pass without ever being seen.

All for the development costs of a couple of million dollars.


It doesn't exist. It's a psych warfare mirage designed to make the enemies think, for at least some period of time, that an attack is a really bad idea if these things are actually out there.

Even if it only buys some time, it would be the cheapest military deterrent in history.

Now you might say "What if you get a fighter eventually that DOES do some or all that stuff? The enemy wouldn't believe it had all those capabilities, that it was just another fake-out."


doctorremulac3, Jan 13 2023

Corbomite https://memory-alph....com/wiki/Corbomite
[a1, Jan 14 2023]

"F-35 will be the last manned strike fighter" https://news.usni.o...ill-ever-buy-or-fly
Would you click on that? [a1, Jan 19 2023]


       Sounds a lot like a flying version of the T14 armata.
pertinax, Jan 14 2023

       There was something sort of like this in the MIG 25 Foxbat. I believe it was supposed to be the super fighter of super fighters and was cited as a reason to get funding for one of our fighter jets, forget which one. Turned out to be two massive engines with a pilot strapped in the middle. Basically a useless rocket. Good for intercepting long range bombers maybe but not much else.
doctorremulac3, Jan 14 2023

       F-15 wannit
Voice, Jan 14 2023

       I think so.
doctorremulac3, Jan 14 2023

       They need to be equipped with Corbomite.
a1, Jan 14 2023

       //It doesn't exist. It's a psych warfare mirage...//   

       The problem is the enemy will suspect this. The clever thing to do is actually build the thing, then the enemy will have a few grainy satellite or spy pictures to really get them worrying. It might seem prohibitively expensive to build a physical aircraft in what is essentially a psy op, but its demonstrably how it was done in the cold war.   

       Take the Mig 25. Long before it was the bogey man aircraft getting western air forces hot under the collar it was thrown into development as an "oh shit" response to the Soviets learning about the North American XB-70 Valkyrie*, a bomber that promised the ability to penetrate deep into Soviet airspace at Mach 3. Was the XB-70 a real threat? Well, they made some prototypes and hit Mach 3, but they had a worrying tendency to fall apart in flight. The project was cancelled. Some money spent, lots of lessons learnt. Conversely, the Soviets threw a huge effort into making the Mig25. Not just the airframe/engine flying test bed, but all the trappings of an interceptor as a functional weapon: a functional radar and missile system. An aircraft that can actually function without being rebuilt in the factory hangar. As with the F35, first flight of the prototype in 2006, is it actually in service yet? Big, big difference between (some) prototypes and a functional military aircraft.   

       The Soviets fell for the XB-70, but they were even more cynically doing the same thing with aircraft like the Myasishchev M-50 - only they had to do a parade fly-past to get it noticed.   

       To some extent, the perception of the Mig25 as a bogey man was the impetus to design the F-15. Interesting how a Mach 2.5 fighter was developed to catch a Mach 2.8 interceptor which was developed to catch a Mach 3 bomber. They got it right though. The Mig25 has to make serious compromises to hit it's eye-catching top speed. Mainly that it accelerates slowly, it can't turn and there's only a small number of missile you can strap to it.   

       The XB-70 played a great role as a bogey man, but it was the obvious development pace of SAMs that made its mission less realistic, and the USAF was having more than enough trouble with it's unreliable, dangerous and expensive B-58 hustler high-speed bomber. High-altitude and high speed was killed as a concept by the development detection technologies. Because flying at Mach3, you can't really avoid heating up to 200-300C against a very low background temperature, to infra red optics you're a glowing hot star with a hot exhaust plume pointing right at you. You're high enough to be visible from a LONG way away and your speed means you have a huge doppler shift for easy radar detection.   

       *Top marks on the name there North American.
bs0u0155, Jan 18 2023

       That's right, the Mig25 was designed to intercept the XB-70 Valkyrie.   

       Anyway, was hoping to get a couple of more buns for the name alone. Tell me if there was a article titled: "F-96 Ghost: The Last Manned Fighter Jet" you wouldn't at least click on it.
doctorremulac3, Jan 18 2023

       // wouldn't you at least click on that? //   

       Only to track what predictions eventually fail. Sec of Navy said something like that about the F-35 back in 2015.   

       It's right up the with nuclear power bring too cheap to meter.
a1, Jan 19 2023

       //Sec of Navy said something like that about the F-35//   

       He's wrong. Probably. Humans remain a pretty good independent decision making unit. Sure, they need somewhere to sleep & eat but they walk themselves to the jet. A lot depends on the life cycle of the F35. This is unknown. Often this relies on accumulated G loading etc. With something like an F-16, its mission means it will accumulate that with training because they can't help themselves with the yanking and banking. If the F-35 mission profiles are more sneaking around at medium speeds/altitudes gathering info etc. then they might last a long time. Carrier landings will always be hard on airframes however. So if the navy has any war fighting to do, they could burn through the C models quickly. It will be interesting to see what happens if the navy is in the market for F-35C replacements long before the USAF.
bs0u0155, Jan 19 2023

       // He's wrong //   

       Of course he is. I was simply pointing out the similarity between that remark from 2015 and what doc joked about yesterday.   

       As for this "invention" - other than the notional aircraft name, there's nothing new here. From the broad concept (mislead the enemy about your capabilities) down to the specific "make the enemy believe you have an invincible weapon system to discourage them from attacking" is older than The Corbomite Maneuver. By several thousand years, at least.
a1, Jan 19 2023

       //He's wrong. Probably. Humans remain a pretty good independent decision making unit.//   

       Agreed. That's why I'm thinking the push has to be for hybrid man/AI interfaces where the man has the final say as to targeting, making the kill etc.   

       Now obviously we get into the area of good societies that are averse to unleashing mindless killing drones onto their enemies but we've had something similar with nuclear weapons. Now you can evaporate your enemy's cities with the push of a button, but why hasn't that happened yet?   

       Ironically the most devistating weapon man ever devised has had a great effect in limiting warfare. Could the same thing happen with automomous AI killing machine swarms?   

       Be interested to hear your take on that b.
doctorremulac3, Jan 19 2023

       //Ironically the most devistating weapon man ever devised has had a great effect in limiting warfare.//   

       It started before nukes. Or at least in parallel. Despite it's known effects, cities were never gassed, which depending on the city/conditions could have had nuke-like casualties. We had ludicrously toxic agents in the '30's, and once a long range delivery mechanism turned up late in the decade all that remained was a way of making lots of the stuff*. By the time VX and similar agents rolled around, they were probably more destructive to life than the nukes of the time. Similarly the various bio-weapons had enormous casualty potential, although controlling biological fallout is fraught with problems.   

       Overall, we have had nuclear, chemical & biological agents and the means to deliver them for a long time and haven't. I think the major nation states developed the various abilities of being able to deliver and take huge blows. WW1, those blows were delivered and taken, so much so that winning felt quite a lot like losing (unless you were the US). By WW2, the blows were able to land on the civilian population, even then, some blows were taken off the table and winning was similarly just losing less (unless you were the US). Now the blows are so big winning and losing are the same.   

       //Could the same thing happen with automomous AI killing machine swarms?//   

       The first iterations? Loyal wingman and such? Will just reduce the losses. That's scary, because body bags airlifted home get uncomfortable questions asked of politicians. Those are important questions.   

       *without killing everyone in the factory.
bs0u0155, Jan 19 2023


       But there's a spooky parallel between the nuclear weapons and poison gas warfare you mentioned. Both of them were new and exciting at one time. And what do humans do when they find something new and exciting? "Hey, we gotta at least try it out!"   

       The spookiest divergence between these 3 killing technologies is that the random "kill everything within a certain area" of gas and nukes might be eliminated with some level of AI based smart targeting. "Kill all (fill in the political party) members within a certain area" is an actual possibility. Now yes, the targeted political party might do the same, but this now kind of becomes a logistics / technology battle more so even than the nukes which, once you get the fight fissile material are creepily easy to make. Fission bombs anyway.   

       Point is, exciting new weapons tend to get tried out.   

       One bright light though would be the neutron bomb, which as far as I know aren't even being built. Allows you to kill the people and leave the buildings standing. There's another bomb that I believe has been dumped from arsenal dream list that's basically the modern version of salting the fields and wells of a conquered enemy, hence the name "salted bomb". Ruins the vanquished enemy's land so you can't use it so kind of makes war pointless.   

       Don't know much about those, just heard tell.
doctorremulac3, Jan 20 2023


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