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Tammy A. Branom

Aurora's Waverider

August 20, 2012 | Comment icon 5 comments

Image Credit: USAF
[!gad]I recently read an article on about a "new" hypersonic aircraft, the X-51A Waverider. As I perused the story on this remarkable aircraft able to fly at hypersonic speeds, I immediately had a flashback to reports of a government "black" project named Aurora. With that, I started digging into all the information regarding Aurora and for the X-51A Waverider to see if the two were connected. I was not surprised to find many similarities. See the entire article - here.

A simple stop at Wikipedia updated me to the details of the Aurora project (see: The very first line of the Wiki article put me on the path. "Aurora was a rumored mid-1980s American reconnaissance aircraft." Then, under the heading "Background", is the statement "According to Aviation Week, Project Aurora referred to a group of exotic aircraft, and not to one particular airframe."

So, could the Waverider indeed be at least part of Project Aurora? I would conclude yes. The Waverider literally rides on its own shockwaves (that’s how it got its name "Waverider") and can achieve hypersonic speeds. Could this be what was coined as the "donuts on a rope" contrail and produced the distinctive deep rumbling, pulsating sounds? Perhaps, since the air inside a scramjet engine is lit as it travels at supersonic speeds which results in such a sight. A photo of scramjets lighting can be found on Wikipedia under the DARPA Falcon Project ( under the heading of "Blackswift" about half-way down the page. See the second picture and note the puffs for yourself.

The test scheduled in August was to drop the Waverider from 50,000 feet. Aurora Project claims state that overhead transmissions put the craft between 67,000 down to 36,000 feet. Data studied from the unusual sonic booms resulted in a determination of "something at 90,000 feet, Mach 4 to Mach 5.2" Coincidentally (or maybe not), the scramjet engine can attain speeds up to Mach 6. The X-51A Waverider was to start its flight at Mach 5 and travel up to 70,000 feet at Mach 6 according to another report (see: As to timeframes, as I stated earlier, the Wikipedia article’s first line states that the "Aurora was a rumored mid-1980s American reconnaissance aircraft" with the "legend" beginning in March of 1990. The article I list above states that the X-51A Waverider "was conceived in 2004." First of all, do not be deceived by this statement. It is simply stated that the X-51A Waverider, specifically, was envisioned in 2004. That does not mean that any predecessors to the Waverider were conjured up in 2004. In fact, in the previous DARPA Wikipedia article I mentioned, it is stated that "spaceplane projects consumed $4 billion of funding in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (excluding the Space Shuttle)." Although I cannot seem to find specific dates, it is a general consensus that by the mid-1980s, the SR-71 Blackbird needed replacing due to its expense and lacking in air speed. The Blackbird attained Mach 2 and 3. We needed something faster and in 1985, Aurora showed up on a budget report. Coincidence? Again, maybe. However, if one keeps reading the Wikipedia page on Aurora, near the bottom under "See Also" is a link to a Soviet hypersonic aircraft called Ayaks, (see: )

In this article, The Ayaks is a hypersonic aircraft program that began "in the late 1980s as a response to the American Aurora aircraft program." This at least says that the Aurora project most likely did indeed exist and hypersonic aircraft programs were operational at least by the late 1980s. If one wants to consider the time it took for the Russians to learn about our hypersonic program and initiate their own, the Aurora Project 1985 black budget bungle could easily be finger pointing toward the beginnings of the ultimate product, the X-51A Waverider.

In my research, I started looking into dimensions of the craft. Report of what were believed to be Aurora Project craft put it at around 130 feet long. That’s a far cry from the 26 foot-long X-51A Waverider. That is even longer than the SR-71 Blackbird at 107 feet. Even the space shuttle falls short at 122 feet in length. I will not say that the lengths of the Aurora sightings are incorrect, they simply may be inaccurate due to the human eye’s inability to judge sizes accurately at a distance. A lot of factors come in to play when approximating measurements when seen from afar or in the sky. However, the Aurora Project most likely has its roots firmly planted in the Blackbird and the continued use of the aircraft and/or its design for hypersonic aircraft projects is probably not an unfounded leap. What I did find curious, however, is that the Russian HFL-VK scramjet winged missile is approximately 26 feet long.

The HFL-VK hypersonic missile is launched atop the SS-25 (Topol Project) ICBM strategic missile. "Classified as the fifth generation of the Soviet strategic missiles, the Topol-M program was expected to negate renewed US efforts in mid-1980s to develop missile defense shield." ( The Aurora program? Yes, as I stated earlier from the Wikipedia Ayaks article. Were we developing a missile defense shield? Yes. Is the X-51A part of our missile defense shield? Yes. Read this:

"The 26-foot-long X-51A was supposed to be a working candidate for prompt global strike, and a safer alternative to the Air Force’s former plan to stick conventional warheads onto Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs. Problem with using ICBMs, however, is that they look like nuclear missiles when launched, potentially provoking a devastating war. The X-51A is just a cruise missile — albeit one with an experimental scramjet engine." ( Although the Wikipedia article states that the Aurora aircraft were to be reconnaissance aircraft, bear in mind that no one has ever admitted to the Aurora Project nor to what was being built. And, even though evidence indicates the project did exist, what craft were created from it or what sub-projects were generated may never be known to the public. What happens in a black project stays in a black project.

My final comparison wanders off into conspiracy theories and UFOs. In my search for information on Aurora and the Waverider, I stumbled upon a forum ( regarding hypersonic research, specifically for the Russian "AJAX" (Ayaks?) program. As it turned out, in 2003, these forum writers were looking at Ayaks and Aurora as well. As I continued to read, the second post brought up some interesting information, albeit from conspiracy theory sites from which the links to the original articles have been archived and I could not access them. It didn’t help that I was not a member, either. However, the gist of the articles were there and that’s when the interesting turned weird.

First was this quote from "One of the concepts to be explored are hypersonic plasma characteristics first discovered in the US in 1958 and more recently revived in Russia in the 'Ajax' concept."

Plasma rang bells for me, so I kept reading the post. The next link truly raised my eyebrows, not for the revelation of hypersonic aircraft being developed, but for the other details that most would overlook. Read this quote from the post that is referenced to be from

"The plasma around hypersonic vehicles is ionized air that is electrically conductive. Theory and some initial tests indicate that if a magnetic field is beamed from the vehicle, the electrical properties of the plasma will be affected such that the bow shock will physically move farther away from the vehicle, dramatically reducing drag. This and other Ajax factors related to heat transfer and the real time conversion of fuels on such a vehicle [?] could have a revolutionary impact on the ability to create air-breathing hypersonic vehicles... 'It is potential breakthrough technology." Thanks to Joel Carpenter. Editors Note: This research is being used in the Hypersonic aircraft now under development."

What I noticed here were the details. Plasma surrounding the craft is electrically conductive ionized air. Magnetic fields. Heat transfer. Conversion of fuels. This reminded me of many things. Bob Lazar came to mind with fuel conversion, but more importantly, plasma and ionized air are indicative of UFO encounters and abductions. Electromagnetic fields react as radiation poisoning. How many UFO encounters have made people ill as if they were radiated? Could the Aurora Project and its test aircraft be responsible? Maybe. Could we, the United States of America, have more knowledge of hypersonic travel than anyone in the public can possibly imagine? I’m really beginning to wonder that and I would like to say yes. Did we get it from aliens? I won’t go there...not yet anyway.

Although the flight of the X-51A on August 14 was considered a failure, that malfunction is only a beginning to making the aircraft work better. We will see it again...and again...and again. Whether as a media write-up or over our backyards. It is my opinion, that the X-51A Waverider is the product of hypersonic aircraft technologies began in the mid to late 1980s under the black budget name (at that time) of Aurora. Those predecessors of this craft are the source of not only the conspiracy theories surrounding Aurora, but most likely countless UFO reports, much as the Blackbird was as well.

As an open-minded skeptic, I must say, the truth IS out there. You only need to have your eyes wide open to see it.

Comments (5)

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Comment icon #1 Posted by glayvin34 9 years ago
I'm not surprised that plasma is the main topic when studying hypersonic craft, any vehicle moving at that speed would have all kinds of issues being surrounded by a plasma sheath. In effect the craft would be experiencing orbital reentry stresses at all times. I read a paper by Korotkevich et al. from 2007 where some means of sending electronic communications through a plasma sheath is examined. I'm not sure how much success they had, but here's the abstract: We wish to transmit messages to and from a hypersonic vehicle around which a plasma sheath has formed. For long distance transmission, ... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Babe Ruth 9 years ago
I remember the controversy surrounding Aurora, but I thought it was a propulsion system, not necessarily an airframe? Because there were quite a few reports of people seeing and hearing the pulsed thrust system, I had assumed that it was meant to operate in the atmosphere below 50,000 feet?
Comment icon #3 Posted by curseofhe44 9 years ago
Well, Babe Ruth, after looking in to more about the Aurora project than just what I had read in "conspiracy theory" sites, I feel Aurora began as a quest for a faster propulsion system using the Blackbird airframe. However, as the project progressed, the Blackbird did not nor could not withstand the stresses, so another airframe, or a modified one, needed to be created. Many reports of Aurora type aircraft are indeed flying above 50,000 feet and the Waverider is meant to go up to 90,000.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Babe Ruth 9 years ago
Thanks for that 44. As I think back, I'm not certain that Aurora was the name of that propulsion system I mentioned. It was out in Area 51 or thereabouts, and a fair number of people reported seeing and hearing it. It seems like "pulsed" was used to describe it in general terms?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Mantis914 9 years ago
That sounds about right. Way back in the early 90's or late 80's, I used to watch CNN when I couldn't go to sleep and around the wee hours of the morning, I saw a small clip of a news story about a ship called the Aurora. There was even an illustration very similar to the one the OP has provided. I seem to remember that it did have an X-something number attached to it then. I caught almost the full story but it never came around from rotation. I guess they pulled the story... nice to see it come full circle now... I just wish I would've had my VHS or Betamax ready then. Geez, I'm getting old..... [More]

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