DARPA is pitting four aircraft manufacturers against each other to create an X-Plane VTOL capable of flying at high speeds. The first concepts have just been revealed.

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DARPA, the US military’s research and development agency, wants to develop an X-plane that can fly SpeedSpeed Higher altitude than landing and taking off vertically. this project PortePorte Name of Speed ​​and Runway Independent Technologies (Sprint). Four companies will be put into competition to present prototypes of protestersprotesters This X-plane with VTOL capability. In terms of specifications,aeronefaeronef Must be able to reach a top speed of at least 740 km/h for altitudes between 4,500 and 9,000 metres. It should be capable of carrying a payload of at least 454 kg. In terms of autonomy, DARPA requires a range of 370 kilometers. DurationDuration Flight time minimum 90 minutes.

Concepts have already appeared

The device will also need to be versatile to accomplish a variety of missions. Aircraft must also be able to land and take off on surfaces that are not intended for this purpose, such as fields, parking lots or roads. The successful applicants are Aurora, Bell Textron, Northrop Grumman Aeronautic Systems, and Piasecki Aircraft Corporation. The aircraft manufacturer that wins the call for tenders must fly its prototype from 2027, so that it can become operational from 2028.

for now, AroraArora has already revealed its X-Plane concept. It is a composite wing with rotors mounted below the cabin for the takeoff and landing stages. Once in cruise, they are covered with covers to enhance PartPart, Uses the proven principle of the V-22 Osprey, with a jet engine in the Bell Textron cruise stage. The rotors are then turned to reduce drag. The other two aircraft manufacturers have not yet revealed their concepts.

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