All this...and I can't get a raise? WTF?

(Oct. 1) -- So you think you can fly? The Pentagon's research and development arm announced this week that it had selected a company to design an airborne Humvee.

Will the Pentagon really have a fleet of flying Humvees some day? Not all ideas for aircraft make it off the drawing board and into production. Here are five recent "out there" aircraft projects sponsored by the Pentagon that would do Tom Swift proud:
Pentagon Sponsored Flying Humvee

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to develop a fully automated, four-seat flying Humvee.

1. Flying Humvee. The formal name for this Jetsons-like project is Transformer, because the apparatus is supposed to transform itself from land vehicle to aircraft. The goal of the project sounds impossibly ambitious: Build a fully automated four-seat military vehicle that can leave the road and fly into the air at the first sign of danger. It follows on a century's worth of work on building flying cars.

Status: Ongoing.

2. Flying submarine. DARPA's plan for a submersible aircraft envisions combining a submarine with an aircraft. The idea "calls for a stealthy aircraft that can fly low over the sea until it nears its target, which could be an enemy ship, or a coastal site such as a port," New Scientist reports. "It will then alight on the water and transform itself into a submarine that will cruise under water to within striking distance, all without alerting defenses."

Status: Ongoing.

3. Flying Wing. This concept for a tailless aircraft was also sponsored by DARPA. Such an aircraft "would vary its wing sweep, which is the angle of the wing's leading edge relative to the direction of flight," Aerospace Daily & Defense Report writes of the conceptual aircraft. "At low speeds the wing sweep would be kept relatively low and at high speeds the wing would be highly swept to reduce supersonic wave drag."

Status: Canceled in 2008.

4. Blackswift. The idea was to build a hypersonic vehicle, called Blackswift, that could take off and land like a regular aircraft. Sounds simple? Not really. Previous efforts to build an aircraft that can reach hypersonic speeds -- over several times the speed of sound -- have proved to be a tremendous undertaking. The last serious attempt, called the National Aerospace Plane, was ended in 1993.

Status: Canceled.

5. Marines in Space. Though mocked by some, the idea of a Marine Corps space plane managed at one point to get some Pentagon funding. The idea was to build a suborbital spacecraft that could transport Marines anywhere in the world within two hours.

Status: Though the project isn't getting any formal military funding at the moment, supporters have put together a technology roadmap.