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Thought to have been built by Northrup and test-flown from Groom Lake since 1983, the THAP (Tactical High-Altitude Penetrator) is probably related to the company's B-2 Proof-Of-Concept vehicles, and also to the TSA (Tactical Stealth Aircraft) Program.

The concept results from a study for a tactical high-altitude penetrator design which is a UAV that can carry a weapons load in an internal bay. Thrust is provided by two high-technology turbofan engines mounted on top of the airframe with some RAM components inherent in the design. Airframe shape is the span-loaded flying wing type resting on tricycle landing gear. Pitch, yaw and roll are controlled by two canted vertical fins, called rudderatrons, coupled to fly-by-wire computer systems. Materials comprising the airframe include RAM plastics surrounding a foam core.

Tests for control probably include remote piloting via VCASS, with the human pilot situated in a simulator at Nellis AFB or Groom Lake and linked to the THAP via one or more of the NAVSATS or by a system similar to Joint STARS.

The terrain outside the vehicle would be relayed via video cameras and other electronic sensors such as those found on many modern strike aircraft to the VCASS helmet worn by the pilot or displayed in at least two dimensions on the interior surface of the simulator shell. The pilot would literally fly the THAP from the comfort and security of his chair on the ground.

Because the satellite link extends over the entire surface of the planet, it seems likely the pilot could fly the craft anywhere he wished until the fuel was depleted. Additionally, because aircraft can always sustain more G's than can humans, we must assume the THAP could perform extreme maneuvers (tight turns, sudden stops and acceleration, etc.) if it was designed to do so. In other words, the remotely piloted THAP could duplicate the maneuvers commonly assigned only to "Flying Saucers."

The THAP is exactly the shape reported during a number of UFO sightings, so we might assume the witnesses are seeing the vehicles during one or more of its many sorties. Designed to penetrate enemy airspace from high altitudes, THAP may have long-range capabilities, perhaps as far as 2,500 to 3,000 miles and subsonic to supersonic speeds.

THAP and other unidentified aircraft, may be unmanned surveillance vehicles remotely guided by "pilots" sitting in a flight simulator thousands of miles away linked via satellites through VCASS or holographic projections on the interior surface of the simulator shell, giving them a 360 virtual reality view of the terrain over which THAP is flying at any given moment. By extending the concept, we could imagine any type of aircraft, known or unknown, might be controlled in this manner. Without the need to protect a pilot from severe G-forces, the aircraft could be built to perform extreme maneuvers such as those reported during UFO sightings.




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