x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

US military looking for jeeps as real-life flying 'Transformers'

Humvees driving into battle that suddenly take off and fly over roadside bombs and enemy troops: the Pentagon is keen to make it a reality.

Humvees driving into battle that suddenly take off and fly over roadside bombs and enemy troops may sound like a scene from a futuristic action film, but the Pentagon is keen to make it a reality. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) asked contractors to put forward proposals for flying jeeps. DARPA wanted a "jeep" with the ability of vertical take-off, a 250-mile travel distance and seating for four. In keeping with the movie theme, the project is called Transformer. One contractor, according to autoblog.com, to pitch an answer was the Texas-based Textron. The proposed transporter has wings, helicopter-like rotors and a powerful ducted fan for forward motion. On the ground, the vehicle is similar to a standard troop transporter, with the wings and blades tucked away. When it's time to take off, the aerodynamic parts come out and the weighted rotors lift the vehicle. Meanwhile, Texas-based AVX proposes using a coaxial rotor system for its flying jeep concept. AVX claims its jeep will carry a 471kg payload, fly at speeds up to 225kph and drive on land at up to 80kph.