DARPA Next-Gen Aircraft: Sneak Peek

Image: DARPA

Image: DARPA

In an effort to develop faster and more efficient alternatives to today’s helicopters, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected four companies to design new aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing flight capabilities.

The agency on March 18 awarded prime contracts for phase one of its Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program to the Boeing Company, Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, and Karem Aircraft, Inc.

The companies share a common element in their designs: technologies that decrease the number of systems and the overall mechanical complexity of the aircraft. The resulting expected improved efficiency in the use of space and weight in turn will leave room for better performance and new features.

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