Science & Technology
DARPA reveals its new VTOL X-Plane concept
By T.K. Randall
March 9, 2016 · 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.
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