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Monday, February 1, 2010

Rotorcraft Report: DARPA Seeks Car with Helicopter Capability

Military | Technology

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hosted a Jan. 14 workshop in Arlington, Va. related to a broad agency announcement (BAA) for the Transformer (TX) program. Government representatives explained the vision and objectives of the program—to develop a ground-based vehicle that can fly like a helicopter, allowing fighters in a combat zone “to avoid water, difficult terrain, and road obstructions, as well as IED and ambush threats.” Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) is one of the requirements of the vehicle, which would carry up to four people. It would also feature the ability to conduct a range of missions on a single tank of fuel.

“Current transport systems present operational limitations where the warfighter is either anchored to the ground... or reliant on helicopters, which are limited in flight speed and availability,” DARPA states, adding that TX “provides the flexibility to adapt to traditional and asymmetric threats by providing the operator unimpeded movement over difficult terrain.”

The agency stressed that the workshop was for informational and planning purposes, and not a solicitation for proposals or abstracts.

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