According to Jane's Defence Weekly magazine, the company has admitted that it is working on technology that could reduce the pull of gravity -- or increase it for the purpose of building weapons. If such experiments prove successful, Boeing would capsize more than 100 years of traditional aerospace propulsion tactics.
The magazine claims that the company is doing the work at its Phantom Works advanced research and development facility in Seattle. What's more, Jane's says the company is trying to get controversial Russian scientist Dr Evgeny Podkletnov to help it reach its goal of building an anti-gravity device. Podkletnov claims to have developed anti-gravity devices in Russia and Finland in the mid-1990s.
Podkletnov's project, GRASP (Gravity Research for Advanced Space Propulsion), is the basis for most work in the "gravity shielding" field. The Russian scientist claimed in a 1996 paper submitted to Physica C that he had created a "gravity shielding" device, whereby objects suspended above a superconductor rotating at 5,000rpm showed an apparent fall in weight of 2 percent.
But the paper was leaked to the press before being published in the journal, and the negative reaction from the scientific community led him to withdraw it. Some copies have survived on the Internet, but the experiment has not been re-created in other labs. Critics say that even if it was successful it would be far too expensive to build superconductors big enough to produce any substantial weight reduction, especially not on a commercial basis.
The GRASP project as a whole has the purpose of exploring "propellentless" propulsion for the purpose of building space launch systems, artificial gravity on spacecraft, and fuelless electricity generation, also called "free energy," Jane's reports. There is also speculation that the technology could be used to build powerful weapons, namely a device called an "impulse gravity generator," which would theoretically be capable of producing a beam of energy that can exert a force of 1,000g (1,000 times the acceleration produced by earth's gravity at sea level) on any object. Such a weapon would supposedly vapourise virtually any object.
According to Podkletnov, a Russian laboratory demonstrated the 4in (10cm) wide beam's ability to repel objects a kilometre away.
NASA reportedly tried to build a similar anti-gravity machine in the mid-1990s but failed. Jane's says the US government will commence a second round of similar tests at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama in the coming months.
Boeing is reportedly attempting to recruit Podkletnov, but because of moves by the Russian government to block the egress of scientists to the West, the company is experiencing difficulty. The UK's BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin are also thought to have contacted Podkletnov to assist their efforts along these lines.