The Nerd Side Of Life

Someone at the US Air Force Named a Tanker Program ‘Project Kaiju’

In a world of high speed jets and stealth bombers, the unsung heroes of aerial warfare are often overlooked. Tankers are certainly not as stylish as their faster, more exciting military cousins. But tankers are a comparatively huge aircraft that provide the vital ability for short range aircraft to refuel in mid-flight.

The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Tanker
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These aerial refueling stations are massive, slow, and unfortunately an extremely easy target in warfare. Hard to defend, tankers are thusly considered prime targets (or HVAAs, ‘High-Value Airborne Assets’) for enemy attack in the field of battle. The US Air Force’s latest initiative is a project intended to solve the problem of protecting these vital tanker aircraft, and this defensive force has been given an unexpected name.

Project Kaiju, named for the gigantic monsters of Japanese cinema, is a brand new initiative that aims the fill the gap in mid-air defense of HVAAs. It works by utilizing a complex system of artificial intelligence. These programs work to jam and interfere with the long range missiles that pose the highest threat to big and slow moving tankers.

Project Kaiju has nine departments, each named after a classic movie kaiju. Godzilla, Ghidorah, Gamera, King Kong, Mothra, Colossus, Kumonga, Baragon, and Mecha Rodan. It’s a bit of a mystery who exactly decided on the unusual names. Some of these names definitely make more sense than others for a defensive force.

Gamera is a flying turtle who’s the friend to all children after all. Mothra is a benevolent giant moth that protects those who can’t protect themselves. Ghidorah however is a triple headed alien bringer of death and destruction, and Mecha Rodan…doesn’t exist at all.

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Whatever the origins behind the choice of names, Project Kaiju promises to be a sophisticated way for the US Air Force to protect one of its valuable air assets. Air Force Lab plans to release more details on the high tech project in 2022. The five year project is expected to cost $150 million.

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