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Recently declassified documents from the U.S. Air Force reveal a Cold War-era plan to build a round, vertical take-off and landing aircraft that can only be described as a flying saucer.
The disk-shaped craft was designed to reach a top speed of Mach 4 and reach a ceiling of over 100,000 feet, according to a recently blog post at the National Declassification Center, an arm of the National Archive.
A document titled “Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report” and dated 1956 was recently made available on the site. It reveals that the Air Force had contracted the construction of the craft to a Canadian company, Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario.
The images come from Recently declassified records from the Aeronautical Systems Division, USAF (RG 342 – Records of United States Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, the NDC reported.
The report appears to conclude that the flying saucer would work as designed.
“It is concluded that the stabilization and control of the aircraft in the manner proposed – the propulsive jets are used to control the aircraft – is feasible and the aircraft can be designed to have satisfactory handling through the whole flight range from ground cushion take-off to supersonic flight at very high altitude,” the report says.
Additional tests to completely substantiate this performance are shown to be required,” the report notes.
The program was estimated to cost $3,168,000 at the time -- $26.6 million today, according to a report on Wired.