The Flying Machine – The Four Superheroes

Note: The first paragraph here is also on my Home Page. Here is some more of the story of the Flying Machine and the Four Superheroes.

Well…. a New Year is here (2019) so I thought to add a brief note of what I’ve been up to. In October, 2018, I thought I would take a few months off from the robot to work on a Flying Machine. I think The Flying Machine is interesting to consider. This particular Flying Machine is designed around a heavy lift function. My design interest is to create a Flying Machine that has enough lift to be able to carry a person or a payload that weighs about as much as a human being or even a little bit more than that. Perhaps a payload in the range of about 300 lbs. When I looked at my design for this Flying Machine, I thought is was just fun to look at and that the design is a cool idea for a toy for the Holiday Season. Hahahaha… nothing ever gets designed in the amount of time one thinks might be needed. Anyway, it never made it to the finished toy stage by the time the 2018 Holidays were here. I’m still working on it.

To me the real fun of design is to be careful to design items that really could exist as real objects. There is a significant challenge in designing items where one tries to not violate laws of physics and chemistry. I want this particular Flying Machine to be a design of an item that really could work.

Yikes, flight stuff has so many variables. And as one considers everything that one would want to place in a Flying Machine, well, it is just so essential to remember that whatever one decides to put in or onto a Flying Machine, well…..that Flying Machine has to lift all of that stuff up in the air. No free rides. I found a little tuboshaft jet engine from the Czech Republic, 140 horsepower, 125 pounds weight. If you’ll look at my image of the Flying Machine, you will see a little red box that is in the equipment space under the mannikin, that red box is my representation of this Czech turboshaft jet engine, with its dimensions being those that the engine company gave for the engine at their website:  

  Anyway, once its up in the air, it will unfold its wings and fly off using fixed wing flying principles because this gives the Flying Machine so much more range.

The Flying Machine (so far) has 6 propeller units (I chose 6 to increase the probabilty that ground control could get the Flying Machine safely back on the ground if one propeller unit failed). The propellers are 4-bladed with significant angle of attack and a fairly large chord (from a proportionality viewpoint). These propellers are optimized for the sole purpose of large thrust at low airspeed. The only real purpose of these vertical lift propellers is to generate enough lift that the Flying Machine can go straight up into the air. I plan to add 2 wings that will be sort of folded up behind the Flying Machine when it is resting on the ground. It will look like a little pigeon: (I’ll let my Watcher Chicken stand in for me as the pigeon image)

The Watcher Chicken

There will be a set of smaller propellers to give horizontal thrust for fixed wing flying and also to provide yaw control for the Flying Machine. All of this is coming, but I thought the image of the Flying Machine as it exists so far was fun to look at, so I uploaded this image here.

Sharpened Cropped By Corel 140 Samples From Sketchup V91 Motor Plus Propeller Plus Frame V1.39

I created a little Mannikin guy to sit in the Flying Machine to let people see some size relationships. In one of the Flying Machine images, I gave the mannikin his own little chair. The propellers will be powered using hydraulic gear motors, one 20 hp hydraulic motor for each of the 6 propeller units. The propellers will spin at about 5600 rpm. Hydraulic motors really don’t prefer to spin that fast, so, unlike most aircraft where the engine rpm’s are geared down for the propeller, in this Flying Machine I geared up the hydraulic motor rpm’s about 3 to 1, so the hydraulic motors can turn at about 1500-2000 rpm, while the propellers turn at 5600-6000 rpm. And the propellers are about 30 inches in diameter, so that at this 5600 rpm value, the propeller blade tip speeds are not too near to Mach 1.

The turboshaft jet engine will run a 120 hp gear pump. Again, the tubojet engine is shown in the image as that red box in the machinery space area. I have a design for a mechanical valve device that will allow this Flying Machine to have a swash plate control system like a helicopter does. This swash plate system will allow slight alterations of the power outputs of the 6 individual propeller motors in an as-needed and on-going fashion. This will allow pitch and roll to be continuously controlled very much like a helicopter. The Flying Machine (as currently drawn) is created from aircraft alloy aluminum, it weighs about 280 lbs without the jet engine or the mannikin. The combined vertical thrust from all 6 propeller units is about 1000 lbs, so it should lift off.

Finally, from a safety viewpoint, whew….. there is so much that needs to be added for a Flying Machine to be safe for transporting humans.

But, hold on a second, this Flying Machine, particularly if one added 2 engines, well it may wind up with a payload lift capacity of 300 lbs. Hmmmmmm…..what a drone that would be. So I decided to add here a story that includes use of this Flying Machine as a fossil fuel powered heavy lift drone design for use in a military setting.

So here goes, I’ll tell you a military story. This military story will be about use of variations on this Flying Machine design to create a set of drones. The drones will all be based on the Flying Machine, but each drone is slightly different in their setup. I call these drones The Four Superheroes.

I think before talking about the drones in detail, I should address where they can fit in with respect to military issues. I’ll begin with discussing Combat Air Support or Close Air Support.

Currently, for the most part, Combat Air Support requires manned aircraft flying standby missions where they sort of “swoop in” and give covering or assistance firepower to ground troops when the troops “call in” and ask for their help. This requires use of aircraft suitable for manned flight, an airfield, specially trained pilots, defensive facilities and military guard personnel to defend the airfield area. Also, there has to be a triage function where someone decides which embattled forces on the ground get the Combat Air Support right this minute, and which forces will have to just sit there and take the enemy fire while they wait their turn in line.

I wanted these drones created by modifying this Flying Machine to be items that are used in a military setting as a type of Combat Air Support activity. But these Four Superheroes as a physical item are not really very big. They don’t need an airfield, they don’t need aircraft pilots, they don’t need all the issues that ride along with manned flight. They represent a new type of Combat Air Support. Here is how they are different. These Four Superheroes can travel along with and be deployed by a relatively small military force, maybe a force level of 100 persons where the decision when and how to use these Superhero drones is generated and controlled at the local level. In other words, these Superhero drones represent Combat Air Support for these 100 troops that is under the control of these 100 troops, they don’t need to call anyone or wait for anything in order for these drones to be sent up and used for Combat Air Support for these troops and the Superhero drones are not typically going to be sent up and then sent off to help some other set of troops. This is Locally Owned, Locally Controlled, and Locally Used Combat Air Support.

We can note from the recent Gulf Wars there was a demonstration of just how much power is multiplied through use of Precision Guided Munitions (PGM’s). Mostly the PGM’s were big munitions 500 lbs, 1000 lbs, some with rocket or jet motors, some travelling in from high altitudes and from many miles away. They totally changed how forces can think about large munitions. I think what we have with the Four Superheroes is the extension of PGM concepts to a much smaller munition. You will see what size I am talking about as I get to the detailed descriptions.

But from an overall level, I think I am describing how to get concepts of PGM inserted into mortars (the Four Superheroes totally serve as a package to allow small groups of forces to deploy precision guided mortar fire), and actually the insertion of PGM concepts into the area of return fire. The other issue is that these Four Superheroes do their work with control via microwave coherent focused beams of radio control (MASER). When Friendly Forces are implementing these Four Superheroes, there is no need for these friendly forces to exit their bunkers or for them to have to lift themselves up above the perimeter walls. This represents a Force Protection aspect of the Four Superheroes. Of note, three of these Superheroes have fixed wing capability giving them travel potential, loiter potential, and chase potential. The effective range for use of the Four Superheroes is probably going to be from about 300 yards out all the way to about 4 miles out. So, not only do the Four Superheroes represent a Force Protection capability, they also represent Force Projection capability.

Its my feeling the enemy forces will simply hate these Four Superheroes. The Boomey (the Boomey is more completely described below) is a precision guided mortar that is aerodynamically optimized for free fall gliding and it will fall with a terminal velocity of about 120 to 130 mph. An interesting feature of this controlled glider flying at 130 mph is that an attempt by enemy forces to effect an escape event will have significant problems because this precision guided mortar can change its planned point of impact in real time and it glides along at 130 mph. I feel that for the most part, the enemy is not going to have a transport capability that would allow the enemy forces to outrun 6 lbs of directed flight high explosives chasing them at 130 mph.

My feeling again, the enemy is simply going to really hate the Four Superheroes.

So….now we can get into some details about these drones.

I think its helpful to create nicknames or designations for these drones because it is just too unwieldy to spell out an entire multi-word name for each drone over and over again as we discuss the drone. . I decided I would call the set of all four drones: The Four Superheroes. What the heck.

Here are the nicknames I decided on for the four drones: FLIR, BOOMER, BANG-BANG, and SECRET SERVICE. I’ll describe for each drone what its configuration is and what it is supposed to do. I feel these descriptions will make it clear why each drone variation has the nickname that it was given.

We’ll call the first variation FLIR. I do bring to your attention that FLIR (as a word) is very close to FEAR and I think fear is what FLIR will bring to a battlefield. This drone carries a Flir unit, a laser designator, sophisticated jamming equipment, and can communicate with ground control and the other drones via a Maser microwave beam (because Maser beams are hard to detect and hard to lock onto).

The second drone variation is named BOOMER. This drone carries aloft a rack of small little glider type drones. These glider type drones are given the name Boomey. Boomeys are about 16 inches long, have a fuselage about 6 inches in diameter and have a wingspan of about 18 inches. These Boomeys do not have flight control surfaces, instead they have a set of 3 transversely mounted battery operated thrusters. These thrusters are located toward the back end of the BOOMEY, one thruster in each wing and one in the fuselage. These thrusters have their axes of thrust aligned perpendicular to the flight axis of the Boomey. These thrusters can be individually controlled. For each thruster the software in the Boomey can continuously vary how much thrust the thruster is creating and whether the output of the thruster comes out of the upper side of the Boomey or out of the lower side. So that for each of the three thrusters on a Boomey, the software of that Boomey would be able to continuously vary what is the rotation speed of the propeller of each thruster, and in which direction is that propeller spinning. I note that all three of these thrusters are really nothing more than ducted fans with electric motors. The duct for the thruster in the fuselage will extend all the way from the top side of the fuselage to the bottom side. The ducts for the thrusters in the wings will go completely through the wing, from the top side of the wing to the bottom side of the wing. The wing thrusters will be placed close enough to the fuselage section of the wing that wing is thick enough to allow placement of both a thruster and its duct.

The effect of this is that by proper use of these thrusters on the Boomey, there can be control of the pitch, roll, and heading of the Boomey as it falls through the air downward from the BOOMER to the target. These Boomeys will have an optical sensor that picks up the laser designation on the target and the Boomey will have on-board data processing capability so that, once the Boomey is dropped from the BOOMER, then the Boomey becomes autonomous and the Boomey uses its sensed optical data and its on-board processing to send continuously updated control signals to its 3 thrusters so that the Boomey alters its flight characteristics to direct itself down toward the point of laser illumination.

The end of this is that the Boomey is flying itself into a direct impact on the laser illumination spot. I guess we need to mention, the Boomey does not survive its mission. The source for the Laser Designation that the Boomey is flying toward comes from FLIR.

Each Boomey will carry the same high explosive charge. This charge will include a downward directed high explosive based shaped charge. In front of the deformation metal of the shaped charge explosive will be a collection of paraffin, powdered aluminum metal, and white phosphorus. There will be a shrapnel cage around the high explosive. This means that each time a Boomey hits its target, then there will be the following: an explosion and pressure pulse effect, an explosive dispersal of metallic shrapnel effect, an explosive release of a shaped charge hypervelocity metal plug effect, and the creation of and ignition of a pressurized aerosol of hydrocarbons effect. The final result is that the Boomey can be considered as carrying a type of general purpose munition. The advantage of choosing a general purpose munition for the BOOMER to carry is that ground control will not need to change their targeting and firing protocols depending on the target. In essence, whatever target they choose, the BOOMER will be able to degrade and/or take out the target. All ground control has to do is tell FLIR to aim the laser designator spot and tell BOOMER to “Hit it.”

As we consider this general purpose munition carried by a Boomey, we note that the shrapnel effect can be used against unhardened targets, the shaped charge component will allow a Boomey to create an opening in the roof of a structure, and finally each Boomey will inject and ignite a cloud of highly pressurized gaseous hydrocarbons into or around whatever target it hits. These ignited hydrocarbons will exist at wherever the Boomey impacted, and this includes that if the Boomey impacts on the roof or walls of a structure, then the ignited hydrocarbons will be explosively injected into the interior of the structure. The BOOMER will carry about 30-40 Boomey’s.

The Boomey’s will be carried and stored in a set of carousel type structures. The reason for this is to allow the set of Boomey’s to be transported and stored away from the collection of the rest of these four drone types (FLIR, BOOMER, BANG-BANG, and SECRET SERVICE) because the Boomey’s contain high explosives. When a BOOMER was being prepped for launch, one of these carousels would be picked up and carried over to the BOOMER and set into place. The process of launching the Boomey’s would be that the BOOMER would rotate the carousel and bring a Boomey into place over an opening in the bottom of the BOOMER. When it was time to launch the Boomey, then BOOMER would “pull its pin” and the Boomey would drop away. The Boomey’s would have metal contact areas on their wing leading edges and these would be in contact with an electrically active bar in the carousel. The effect of this is that the batteries of the Boomey’s could be kept charged and data could be transmitted to and from each of the Boomey’s and the BOOMER. This data capability allows the BOOMER to be sure that it is choosing a Boomey that is “OK” and that only one Boomey at a time is brought up to a “full launch readiness” condition.

I feel it would be nice if there could be step where a collection of a picric acid type initiators would be stored in a separate location on the BOOMER. The process of getting a Boomey ready for launch would include that the BOOMER would rotate the carousel to bring the Boomey in place over the launch opening. Then the BOOMER would use a “pick and place” type of robot to lift up a picric acid type initiator, open an access door on the Boomey, put the initiator in place, and the door would then close.

The explosion sequence of the Boomey would be that as it fell it would increase its airspeed probably up to about 110-120 mph, since I feel the launch altitude should be about 18,000 to 22,000 feet above local ground level. When Boomey hit the target area nose first at 120 mph, this deceleration event would crush the picric acid type initiator, the initiator would explode, and this explosion would initiate detonation of the high explosives.

I feel that this “pick and place” robot action for the picric acid type initiator can be kept simple and reliable enough. The effect of this system is that the picric acid type initiators are kept away from the high explosives of the Boomey’s, except for the one Boomey that is to be launched. This has the effect that BOOMER does not really fly around with an entire carousel full of active ready-to-go high explosive charges loaded up inside the BOOMER. I think this is a safety enhancing approach. The safety benefit of this separation of initiators and high explosives becomes particularly important if a BOOMER is returned to base for landing and cessation of operations and the BOOMER has not launched all of its Boomey’s. I’m trying to keep these Boomey’s in a pretty safe state most of the time. Easy to say, I don’t know if its hard to do.

The third drone will be named BANG-BANG. It sure would be nice to get a 50 caliber aloft, but, in general, the recoil from a 50 cal would just wreak havoc on the flying or hovering characteristics of a drone where the drone itself isn’t very heavy. It’s my guess that in order for the drone to keep itself sufficiently stable for lining up targets, the the firing rate of the 50 Cal would probably have to be limited to about one round every 5-6 seconds. It is my opinion that the sound of this would not be anything like what is normally heard with 50 caliber military weapons. It really would be a totally different sound effect. I feel that as the soldiers listened to the sound of this drone’s 50 cal, that this is how it would get its nickname of BANG-BANG, because that is what it would sound like.

So, can a “repeating 50 Cal deployed aloft” drone be created? I feel that the truly critical problem that needs to be solved is to mitigate the recoil so the 50 cal could fire and yet there would be no net recoil. Is there a way to configure or modify a 50 cal so that there is no net recoil? I think so, and here’s my discussion on this topic. Consider a modified 50 cal that has a normal standard barrel pointing out in one direction (let’s say we moved this modified 50 cal so that its normal barrel points due North). This modified 50 cal will also have another barrel type opening pointing out in a direction exactly opposite from its normal barrel. So that in this example then,this other barrel’s opening would be pointing due South. We can consider this modified 50 cal as having two barrels, one barrel is directed forward and the other is directed backward. They are aligned on the exact same axis.

When this modified 50 cal fires its round, this 50 cal discharges a projectile as a kinetic output (the bullet) out of its normal barrel. As is true of a normal 50 cal, when a round is fired in this modified 50 cal, some of the exhaust gases from the ignition of the gunpowder of the round are directed down the barrel that points forward. However, in this modified 50 cal, some of the exhaust gases are also directed into and out of the other barrel that points in the opposite direction. The machining of the configuration of the channels that direct some of the exhaust gases out of this backward pointing barrel is designed so that the recoil effect of these backward exhausted gases creates what I will call an anti-recoil type of impulse that is the same as the recoil pulse, arising from propulsion of the bullet, but this anti-recoil pulse is in the opposite direction of the recoil pulse.

The net result of this is that there would be two recoil impulses when a round is fired. These two recoil forces would be the same in their nature with respect to pressure values as a function of time, except one pulse (the anti-recoil pulse) would be in the exact opposite direction as was the other pulse (the normal recoil pulse).

Is this cool or what? Two simultaneous recoils of equal magnitude, exactly directed in opposite directions. So yes, it is a 50 cal, and it does fire, and it has recoils. But it actually has 2 recoils and they cancel each other so that from a net viewpoint, this 50 cal fires a round, but this 50 cal has… net recoil.

Probably from a reality viewpoint, it would not be possible to absolutely eliminate any recoil based impulses from the firing. What would happen would be a “net recoil” but this “net recoil” would not be too large. The size of this “net recoil” would depend mainly on the proper machining of the channels that direct the gases that form the anti-recoil pulse. I feel this “net recoil” would occur, but I feel it is possible to do some “tuning” of the machining so that the final resulting net recoil would be very minimal. Again, would that be cool or what? Since there is probably no way to get the net recoil to absolutely zero, but instead to get it to a minimized level, then the effect of these impulses would probably still have enough of an effect on the attitude of the BANG-BANG drone that it would need a few moments to get itself back ready again after each set of rounds were fired. What would happen is that the BANG-BANG drone would spend about 10-15 seconds between each firing of a round in order for the drone to re-stabilize itself sufficiently to allow targeted firing. Hence, when this drone was in action, it would fire repeatedly every 10-14 seconds. I am hoping the drone can carry enough ammunition to keep firing without resupply for about 75 minutes. But this BANG-BANG sound effect of repetitive 15 second firings is the sound effect that gives this drone its distinctive sound and gives this drone its nickname.

I would add optics to the bullet firing barrel. I would let Zeiss make a scope about 4 feet long, and the scope would have sets of internal 8-9 inch diameter lenses. I would harden the mountings of the optics of this scope so that the impulses of firing would not knock the scope out of alignment. I would give this scope infrared capability and the ability to sense the laser designation spot sent out by FLIR. This (almost) non-recoil 50 cal would have a capacity for ground control to adjust the bearing of its firing direction via radio control signals sent to a rotary motion device connected to the support base of the 50 cal. I feel the barrels would protrude out beyond the structural elements of the BANG-BANG. This protrusion of the barrels beyond the structural elements of the BANG-BANG drone means that the structure on the BANG-BANG drone that holds these barrels would not have an unlimited ability to alter the bearing of their aim point. I feel that as they adjusted the bearing of their fire direction they could sweep left to right probably over about a total of 85 degrees. If more bearing motion than that were called for, then the BANG-BANG drone itself would need to alter its bearing.

BANG-BANG would also have adjustability of the inclination of its barrel with respect to the horizon. Again, control of this adjustment of up-down inclination of the barrel would be via radio frequency control commands sent to BANG-BANG from ground control. I feel it would be very desirable to configure the structural elements of the BANG-BANG drone variant, so that, if requested, it had enough adjustablilty of the inclination of its barrel that it could incline its barrel down sufficiently that it could just about discharge bullets straight down, not absolutely straight down, but close.

I think its pretty important that these drones are somewhat difficult for the enemy to detect them and also that access to them via enemy fire would be limited. This is with respect to an enemy force that basically consists of ground forces of a not very sophisticated military force. If the enemy is going to have radar ranging and bearing with radar based anti-aircraft fire capability, well….. that’s not really your basic simple enemy force. I’m not sure our 4 superhero drones need full protection and avoidance capability against every conceivable defense munition.

I do feel that BANG-BANG should not be required to rely on tracer rounds so that it can adjust its firing solutions. These tracers sure would tell everyone where was BANG-BANG. And I also would have fairly robust suppressors on those barrels, both sound and light suppression. Instead of tracer rounds to adjust the firing solution, I suggest that the bullets of the 50 cal of BANG-BANG be drilled out a little at their central core axis. I would load into this drilled out area with an explosive setup similar to the explosives on a Boomey, except there would not be a shaped charge, and there would be a smaller amount of each of the components, including less of the high explosive. I would add white phosphorus, paraffin, aluminum powder, high explosive, and a picric acid type initiator. End result…. as each bullet hit something fairly hard, there would be an explosion, a brief white flash, some ongoing flames, and a small amount of shrapnel. These effects would be visible to ground control by radio link via FLIR and/or BANG-BANG. The firing solution could be tweaked and the line of impact “walked in” to the enemy position. This seems to me that this would be just terrifying to an enemy force to watch that line of explosions headed their way. And no indication really of exactly where this fire was coming from. Whew…what an image!

There exists an explosive 50 cal round already produced with these characteristics. 

The message on the web is that this (the Raufoss 50 cal explosive round) is the most expensive 50 cal round that one can acquire at a cost of $65.00 per round. Yikes! I am hoping that perhaps the round that I describe would be less expensive. The Raufoss Multipurpose is adjusted to have an armor piercing function, which includes a tungsten core, and a post impact high explosive detonation delay which allows the high explosive to detonate after the bullet has traversed the armor. I don’t think the BANG-BANG Superhero needs all these features in its round. I was mostly hoping the bullet would create a flash of light, a small detonation, and the release and ignition of a pressurized vapor of hydrocarbons. I have no idea if this can be done at a lower cost.

My thought is that these drones would engage the enemy from about 18,000 to 24,000 feet above ground level. I feel this makes them pretty much safe from the capabilities of your basic low level ground forces. I would have these drones transported via what is basically a dump truck. It has pretty thick steel walls around the drone storage area. It would have a crane.

When the decision was made to “Loose the Drones”……

Well, the drones would be craned up out of the dump truck and placed on the ground. They would be fueled up and in sequence, the jet of FLIR would be lit off and up it would go. One of the carousels of BOOMEY’s would be picked up off of their special transport truck and this carousel would be mated up to the BOOMER. The BOOMER’s jet would be lit off and up into the air it would go. FLIR would establish communication via MASER beam to ground control, and then as BOOMER went up, FLIR would find it and connect up to it with a separate MASER beam. The two of them would transition to fixed wing flight and begin their ascent in air space controlled by friendly forces. Once they were at their battle and cruising altitude of 18,000 to 23,000 feet above ground level they would proceed over the battle line and into enemy airspace. FLIR would look around and ground control would establish target decisions. FLIR would be given its “GO” order, FLIR would set out the laser designation illumination of the target, and FLIR would tell BOOMER, “Hit it” Repeat salvos of Boomey’s would be released either until BOOMER ran out of Boomey’s or FLIR was informed by ground control that the engagement was over.

BANG-BANG would be launched in the exact same manner. FLIR would be able to simultaneously communicate with BOOMER and BANG-BANG and then send this data back to ground control. Video imagery from the scope of BANG-BANG and the scopes of FLIR would be sent to ground control in real time. In addition, as the mission dictated, it could be that only FLIR and BANG-BANG were launched, or perhaps that only BANG-BANG was launched. I don’t think BOOMER could be configured to be launched by itself. I think the functions of of running the BOOMEY carousel and prepping and launching the Boomey’s are fairly complicated. I do not feel one could add command, control, target evaluation, and target designation to the functions of a BOOMER. It would just be too much stuff for BOOMER to carry aloft by itself.

Well, we need to talk about the Fourth Superhero. I had in my mind that the Fourth Superhero would be Boomey, but, alas, poor Boomey, he doesn’t survive the mission. And Boomey does fly, but he doesn’t have a motor and he really isn’t a drone. Boomey is basically just significant unhappiness for whoever he is deployed against.

I did realize that the other 3 superheroes, FLIR, BOOMER, and BANG-BANG do need to get themselves to their design altitude, because it is at that altitude that they become so much more protected against retaliation from the enemy forces. Anti-air assets that reach to 14,000 to 18,000 feet altitude above local ground level are not just trivial little things that your basic local enemy group is going to be toting around and deploying. Here’s a link discussing a brief history of anti-air defense assets.

It is my feeling that this link demonstrates that with modern offensive air attack equipment, the defense is rapidly pushed to anti-air missiles, (and these anti-air missile assets are usually deployed installations, nothing quick, simple, or tivial). Man-portable anti-air missiles are always mentioned, but again I feel the basic entry level enemy forces aren’t going to be roving through the mountains with 40-50 mm anti-air cannons, and, at present, anti-air man-portable missiles are fairly well restricted, and I am not very sure an anti-air man-portable missile would lock on to one of these Superhero drones anyway because right now, man-portable anti-air missles are designed for aircraft much bigger than these drones.

The Superheroes use the following as their method of defense against an attack: They ascend to an altitude where they can rain down unhappiness on the enemy. The Superheroes do this from an altitude that is so high that there’s nothing the local, simple enemy forces can do about the Superhero drones because the enemy forces do not have any munitions that can get to the altitude of the Superheroes. We can see that this is a great defense for a Superhero, once the Superhero gets up to altitude.

But an issue remains: The Superhero drones must perform an ascent to get to a protective altitude. Here’s the issue: what can be done so that these Superheroes drones will survive their ascent? It’s here that I think we can introduce the Fourth Superhero. I’ll give him the name SECRET SERVICE. You’ll see where that name comes from as I continue. The other Superheroes are not armored Flying Machines because the weight of armor would place an unacceptable limitation on their payload weight and also places an unacceptable limitation on their ability to linger at altitude.

It seemed reasonable to me that there could be a place for an armored Superhero and I decided to give the name SECRET SERVICE to this armored protection Superhero. SECRET SERVICE as a Superhero Flying Machine that would have no other function than to lift off with another Superhero in a manner where SECRET SERVICE acts to protect the other Superhero during ascent. The ascent protocol used by SECRET SERVICE is that SECRET SERVICE places itself between the Superhero to be protected and the enemy. SECRET SERVICE adjusts its liftoff so that its liftoff profile matches the liftoff profile of the Superhero that it is protecting. SECRET SERVICE maintains an ascent match with the Superhero that it is protecting until this protected Superhero is at a safe altitude. At this point, SECRET SERVICE terminates its ascent and initiates a descent. SECRET SERVICE then descends all the way back to the launch site.

This will result in a protective effect from SECRET SERVICE because, unlike any of the other Flying Machine Superheroes, SECRET SERVICE is armored. I’m considering that this armor is a sandwich honeycomb arrangement of plates of titanium, high density polyethylene, and polycarbonate. We note that even SECRET SERVICE has limitations on how much weight SECRET SERVICE can lift, which means that SECRET SERVICE would not be able to withstand any possible ordnance that might be sent against it. SECRET SERVICE would, however, have enough armor plating to be able to withstand hits from small arms fire and (I hope) larger calibers up to 50 cal.

What would happen is that once the decision was made to deploy the Superheroes or just to deploy one of them, that the Superhero would be brought to readiness to launch, as would SECRET SERVICE. At the time of launch, both SECRET SERVICE and the other Superhero would lift off.

This deployment protocol means that SECRET SERVICE doesn’t need wings, nor does it need a capability to linger and/or cruise at altitude. Instead, SECRET SERVICE can manage its payload provisions to maximize how much armor it has, how much ammunition it carries aloft, and how much extra fuel it can carry to lift its payload.

I continued to consider the design of SECRET SERVICE and I realized that SECRET SERVICE, the Fourth Superhero Flying Machine, needs to carry a weapon aloft, so that SECRET SERVICE has the ability generate weapons fire. A weapon carried aloft by SECRET SERVICE means that if an enemy began action against an ascending Superhero Flying Machine, then SECRET SERVICE could initiate weapons fire against that enemy location in order to suppress the enemy. I think SECRET SERVICE should carry the same non-recoil semi-automatic repeating 50 cal weapon that BANG-BANG carries. This includes that SECRET SERVICE would have the same high magnification optics sighting that is radio linked to ground control in real time exactly like the optics carried by BANG-BANG.

The effect of this would be that the armor of SECRET SERVICE would protect both SECRET SERVICE and the other Superhero that SECRET SERVICE is protecting, and if the enemy wanted to try some anti-air behavior, well….. SECRET SERVICE could unleash its own 50 cal against them.

The protocol for action for SECRET SERVICE would be different from the other Superheroes in that SECRET SERVICE would not hold its weapon use until it gets to altitude, and has its wings deployed, is cruising and awaiting target designation, etc.

Instead, good ol’ SECRET SERVICE, well….(if necessary) he comes right out of the box Flyin’ and Shootin’ from an altitude of 10 feet all the way to an altitude of 18,000 feet.

Remember that, just like BANG-BANG, if the carousel containing the ammunition load of SECRET SERVICE becomes empty, or if fuel supplies are running low, then, just like BANG-BANG, SECRET SERVICE can be landed and a new fully loaded ammunition carousel swapped in to replace the empty carousel, more fuel pumped aboard, and SECRET SERVICE can then be sent right back up in the air. This restock-refill event would be, again just like BANG-BANG, about a 20 minute evolution.

What I have to smile about, is my thought that I easily could see the troops stating, “Ya’ know, if there’s some limitation on our budgets here…..” we the troops on the ground, well “We might just request that you give us 4 of those SECRET SERVICE Flying Machines.” I think the troops might just prefer an action plan of 4 SECRET SERVICES lifting off guns blazing, repeating as needed.

So, in conclusion, I love to write stories. I can imagine myself right there in a field just watching the pulling up of these dump trucks, the craning out of the drones, lighting off their jets and watching them ease their way up into the sky and then starting their reign of terror that they would commence against the enemy position after a short wait while the drones got everything “all ready.” Wow. To me anyway, that is a truly neat scene of imagination. I think that would be so cool to watch, even if it was just a training exercise.

I don’t have any military contacts so I have no idea what actual troops would say. It sure seems to me if they had “their own stuff” that they could “send up” when they felt like it and they didn’t have to just absorb fire while they waited for someone to help them, well……

I think the troops would say, “Yeah, we want The Four Superheroes.”