Wednesday, September 15, 2010

DARPA's "Transformer"

Pretty cool stuff:

The Transformer (TX) vehicle program will examine the feasibility and approaches for developing vertical take-off and landing, road-worthy vehicles that carry a 4-person payload >250 NM on one tank of fuel, can safely travel on roads, and can be operated by a typical soldier. The goal is to define the major components and overall design of a TX vehicle that would be suitable for military scouting, personnel transport, and logistics missions. Technical areas that will be explored include: hybrid electric drive ducted fan propulsion system, ring motors, energy storage methods such as batteries and ultra capacitors, morphing vehicle bodies, and advanced flight controls and flight management systems. The TX vehicle is intended to make roads irrelevant for military small unit maneuvers. These units can use TX air vehicles to fly over obstacles or impassible terrain, avoid ambushes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Personal TX vehicles could be dispatched for downed airman recovery or for evacuating injured personnel from difficult to access locations, or to resupply isolated small units. Four-man versions would be suitable for enhanced company operations concepts which would allow the soldier/team to see the situation and pick the best place to “drop in” for urban operations.

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