- Skyworks Global and Scaled Composites are teaming to develop the VertiJet gyrodyne
- A new procurement and investment environment allows innovators the opportunity to enter a military aircraft market dominated by prime contractors
Skyworks Global and Scaled Composites will offer their VertiJet gyrodyne aircraft for one of the US Army's various Future Vertical Lift (FVL) competitions, according to an executive.
John Michel, Skyworks Global executive director and retired US Air Force (USAF) brigadier general, told Jane's on 9 July that VertiJet can fulfill a variety of military missions including combat search and rescue (CSAR); ship-to-shore logistics; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); armed escort, and special operations. While the US Army has an active competition in Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft-Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) and a potential competition for Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), Michel said the team had not determined which competition, or competitions, to pursue.
The VertiJet is a runway-independent aircraft that can take off and land vertically and hover similar to a helicopter. VertiJet will incorporate technologies designed and developed by Skyworks in the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) Heliplane programme to achieve an estimated top speed of 644 km/h and a range of 1,000 n miles with a maximum payload of 454 kg. Michel said Skyworks and Scaled Composites are targeting VertiJet's unit cost for the USD6-8 million range.
DARPA's Heliplane was designed to combine the key attributes of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft: vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and hover capability of a rotary-wing aircraft combined with high speed and efficient cruise capability of a fixed-wing aircraft. The VertiJet features twin-jet engines, a large rotor for take-off and landing, four weapon hardpoints underneath the fixed wings, and twin booms with a horizontal stabiliser.
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