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DARPA reveals its new VTOL X-Plane concept

Posted on Wednesday, 9 March, 2016 | Comment icon 14 comments

The new aircraft will be able to lift off vertically like a helicopter. Image Credit: DARPA
The government agency has unveiled plans for a futuristic unmanned vehicle known as 'LightningStrike'.
Capable of taking off, hovering and landing vertically, the new aircraft is being developed by Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. as part of DARPA's VTOL Experimental Plane (X-Plane) program.

"Aurora is proud to support DARPA on what we all hope to be a truly historic breakthrough in aviation technology," said Aurora chairman and CEO John Langford.

"If successful, VTOL X-Plane’s radically improved flight capabilities could lead to revolutionary advancement of the U.S. military's future mission capabilities."

The first aircraft in history ever to be fitted with distributed hybrid-electric propulsion ducted fans, LightningStrike will be capable of carrying heavy loads at speeds of up to 460mph.

Test flights of the vehicle are expected to begin as early as 2018.

Source: | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by TheKarateKid on 9 March, 2016, 20:51
Could extra terrestrials assisted in the design of this? Not a statement but a question
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin on 10 March, 2016, 3:46
Could extra terrestrials assisted in the design of this? Not a statement but a question No.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Chibadiba on 10 March, 2016, 3:49
Looks like it's flying backwards.
Comment icon #8 Posted by seeder on 10 March, 2016, 3:50
and to those people who think we have secret underground bases where we back engineer ufo tech... just look at what we design...
Comment icon #9 Posted by pallidin on 10 March, 2016, 4:08
and to those people who think we have secret underground bases where we back engineer ufo tech... just look at what we design... Excellent point. This design seems so blatantly "mechanical" as to exclude any notion of ET influence.
Comment icon #10 Posted by FateAmeniableToChange on 10 March, 2016, 16:38
Cant say im much impressed if this is our cutting edge aerial concepts! vertical takeoff etc has been around for years, and aircraft like the harrier jump jet were seen as obsolete, conspiracy theorists will love the name of the company though, Aurora lol
Comment icon #11 Posted by Calibeliever on 10 March, 2016, 19:28
The biggest challenge with VTOL aircraft is range. It looks like this is the major innovation they're shooting for but I haven't found any mention of projections in any of the press releases I could see. Range is largely dependent on payload of course which is up to 40% of the gross weight of the craft. Also impressive for VTOL.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Merc14 on 11 March, 2016, 19:47
I think I see what is happening. The motors aren't sandwiched between a top and bottom half of a single wing, each is a separate wing with the top wing inverted - upside down. The fans in the middle provide thrust plus instant low pressure in the sandwich over the top of both foils at once. The top foil is less effective than the bottom but still adds lift, as shown by planes ability to fly upside down. Look starting at 3:48 of this video, imagine the motors between these two air foils. edit, video didn't embed, typo. I think the ducted wing is actually two wings like a biplane uses with a fan... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by pallidin on 11 March, 2016, 23:00
I wonder if this design is "battle viable" Seems like so much could go wrong. So many mechanical parts.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Merc14 on 11 March, 2016, 23:09
I wonder if this design is "battle viable" Seems like so much could go wrong. So many mechanical parts. It has one jet engine powering a generator and everything else is electrical, I think. Maybe hydraulics at the core for landing gear and wing tilt, so armor up the engine and fuel area and itcould take some hits.

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