The little green guys from the sky had it all laid out for the Pentagon. Then the U.S. Air Force and a Canadian defense firm got their hands on the schematics for flying saucers and they had to muck it all up.
No, seriously. Well, maybe not the alien part.
The National Archives declassified and released the official plans from the 1950s on Sept. 20 to build a flying saucer under the secret code name Project 1794. Air Force leaders wanted to build the next secret weapon to defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
The Pentagon had hoped to build a saucer that could reach speeds of Mach 4 and reaching altitudes of 100,000 feet — the perfect aircraft to potentially spy on nuclear launch locations across the USSR. The saucer, however, had a limited range of 1,000 nautical miles.
Air Force and Navy officials could have envisioned flying saucers taking off from aircraft carriers stationed across the world as it had a vertical take off and landing capability decades before generals even started to talk about the Osprey.
The U.S. military exported the secret program to Canada offering the development contract to Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario. Before it was cancelled, their two-year contract was worth $3,168,000.
A video of Avro’s prototype, however, shows a cylindrical aircraft struggling to even get out off the ground. Soon after, the Defense Department cancelled the program in 1960 following meager test results.
More schematic photos below.