Air Platforms

Boeing and Karem named as latest VTOL X-Plane contenders

17 March 2014
DARPA's VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) programme seeks to enable radical improvements in vertical take-off and landing flight through cross-pollination between the fixed-wing and rotary-wing worlds. DARPA has awarded prime contracts for Phase 1 of VTOL X-Plane to Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing, Karem Aircraft and Sikorsky. Three of the four—Boeing (top), Karem Aircraft (middle) and Sikorsky (bottom)—provided concept images of their proposed designs. (DARPA)

Boeing and Karem have been officially added to the list of companies awarded contracts under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) X-Plane programme, the agency announced on 18 March.
The companies join Aurora Flight Sciences, and Sikorsky in being awarded Phase 1 contract to cross-pollinate the best of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft with the goal of improving vertical and cruise flight capabilities. No value was disclosed, though the overall programme is expected to be worth USD130 million.
According to the agency, the VTOL X-Plane demonstrator should achieve a top sustained flight speed of 300 kt to 400 kt; raise aircraft hover efficiency from 60% to at least 75%; present a more favourable cruise lift-to-drag ratio of at least 10, up from the current 5 to 6; and carry a useful load of at least 40% of the vehicle's projected gross weight of 10,000-12,000 lb (4,500 kg to 5,450 kg).
"The technologies that VTOL X-Plane intends to develop [should] apply equally well to manned [and unmanned] aircraft. Another common element among the designs is that they all incorporate multipurpose technologies to varying degrees. Multipurpose technologies decrease the number of systems in a vehicle andits overall mechanical complexity. Multipurpose technologies also use space and weight more efficiently to improve performance and enable new andimproved capabilities," DARPA said.
With the Phase 1 contracts now awarded, the four participants are required to submit their preliminary designs for review by DARPA in late 2015. A downselect to one design will be made for Phase 2 and Phase 3, with flight trials scheduled for the 2017 - 2018 timeframe.



(269 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.

RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • Altavian Nova R8400

    Type Multi-purpose octocopter. Development Altavian was established during 2011 and describes the Nova R8400 octocopter as being an all-electric VTOL system that requires 'minimal' deployment logistics/operating area requirements and is designed to collect high-resolution data and to deliver it

  • C-ASTRAL Bramor

    Type Multi-purpose surveillance UAV. Development The C-ASTRAL Bramor AV is designed for both military (the Bramor C4EYE configuration) and civil/military (the Bramor gEO and gHY configurations) applications, with the cited variants employing a common airframe and being distinguished by the type

  • ERMES Technologies/C-ASTRAL Cobra

    Type Tethered VTOL micro UAV. Development Jointly developed by Italy's ERMES Technologies and Slovenia's C-ASTRAL, the Cobra tethered VTOL micro UAV is designed primarily to provide top cover for vehicle patrols and is mandated to fly in wind speeds of up to 20 kt (37 km/h; 23 mph) while attached

  • MLB V-Bat

    Type VTOL surveillance UAV. Development The MLB company describes the V-Bat AV as being a 'high efficiency' platform that combines 'sailplane-like' wing surfaces with a 'mechanically simple' ducted fan that provides vertical lift, forward propulsion and which acts as a tail assembly in horizontal

  • Supermarine

    Michael (Mike) O'Sullivan founded Supermarine Aircraft Pty Ltd at Moggill, Queensland, Australia in 1992 to develop a kitbuilt scale replica of the Second World War Supermarine Spitfire. Local dealers were appointed in Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, UK and US. However, in January 2011,

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT