Air Force Plans for Flying Saucers Revealed

The National Archives finally releases schematics from 1950s

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 6, 2012 2:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – Maybe flying saucers really do exist—but were made by the US military? For the first time, the National Archives has released schematics of a UFO-like saucer that the US Air Force was designing in the 1950s, Wired reports. The plan—called Project 1794—was to engineer a $3.1 million prototype that would reach a maximum speed “between Mach 3 and Mach 4, a ceiling of over 100,000 ft. and a maximum range with allowances of about 1,000 nautical miles,” the document reads.

So we're talking about a flying saucer that takes off and lands vertically, and travels at around 2,600 miles per hour—about a 24-minute trip from Miami to New York. And designers were optimistic, saying their plan had improved throughout contract negotiations. But the military's grand aspirations crash-landed in 1960 when they finally canned the project. "Curiously," the National Archives notes, "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."

A Cutaway of Aircraft Structure from the US Air Force's Project 1794.
A "Cutaway of Aircraft Structure" from the US Air Force's Project 1794.   (National Archives)
A Cutaway of Aircraft Structure from the US Air Force's Project 1794.
A "Cutaway of Aircraft Structure" from the US Air Force's Project 1794.   (National Archives)
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