While the US military has always denied the existence of UFOs, it turns out they planned to build one – and had contracted the work to a Canadian company.
Recently declassified 1950s material from the Aeronautical Systems Division of the United States Air Force shows the schematics for a saucer-shaped aircraft. According to the documents, the saucer had a potential speed of Mach 3 or 4, or between 3,675 and 4,900 km/h. It was to have a ceiling of 100,000’ (about 30,000m), a range of 1,000 nautical miles (about 1850km) and could take off and land vertically.
It seems that Avro Aircraft Ltd. – the Ontario-based company contracted by USAF to design and build the saucer – appeared to have confidence in their design and said in a summary dated June 1st 1956, “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.”
What became of the project – referred to as Project 1794 in the documents – is not clear. Avro did, however, work on another UASF-funded saucer. Called the Avrocar, it flew at only 1m off the ground at speeds of up to 55 km/h – certainly not close to the alleged capabilities of the other saucer. The project was cancelled in 1961, but there is some video footage of the Avrocar in action available:
In the National Archives blog post (see previous link), Michael Rhodes says, “Curiously, these pictures bear a strong resemblance to ‘flying saucers’ in popular science fiction films made during the years these reports were created: 1956 and 1957.” It could, of course, also be said that the pictures bear a strong resemblance to the flying saucers that many people claim to have seen in the sky for decades – fodder for the conspiracy theorists, no doubt!
However, not everybody believes that Project 1794 was ever real. For example, one commenter to the National Archives post had this to say:
This is fanciful balderdash pseudo-science aka Popular Mechanics circa 1955. If in fact it was ever created at that time. I cannot imagine ANY air force pilot or General thinking this was remotely worth our time given the Russians were actively working on a space program. That’s where you would’ve put your energy – in U2 and SR 71s and strategic bombers, nuke submarines and ICBMs around the Iron Curtain, not childish cartoons like this.
This ‘scam-matic’ could never actually fly. There’s absolutely nothing here that is remotely logical. However, if during the 1950s you wanted to provide “evidence” that the govt was working on new fangled craft to explain to a population scared about increasing UFO sightings, this is the type of nonsense you’d foist on the public.
What do you think? Was Project 1794 a dismal failure or did USAF actually go on to build it? Or was it simply a Cold War-era scam intended to worry the Russians? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.