Dec 022010
 

The Transformer (TX) program calls for a vertical-takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle that can travel 280 miles by land or air and carry up to 1,000 pounds (Image: AAI Corporation)

The company behind the first FAA approved “roadable aircraft” – the Terrafugia Transition – has been selected to contribute to DARPA’s Transformer (TX) Project, a program that aims to bring flying car technology to the battlefield.

Terrafugia will subcontract to one of two winning teams under phase one of the program which focuses on creating a conceptual design for a four person cross between a Humvee and a helicopter for use in insurgency, reconnaissance, medical evacuation and logistical supply.

DARPA’s US$65M Transformer (TX) program calls for a vertical-takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle that can travel 280 miles by land or air, carry up to 1,000 pounds and offer control to non-pilots through the use of semi-automated flight-control systems.

The first phase of the program will run over the next 12 months with the aim of creating a design for both a prototype and a production vehicle. A working prototype is expected to materialize as early as 2015.

DARPA has selected AAI Corporation and Lockheed Martin as the prime system integrators, while Carnegie Mellon University and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will look at critical enabling technology.

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