DARPA’s Transformer (TX) program seeks to combine the advantages of a ground vehicle and a helicopter in a single vehicle with heightened flexibility, giving operators options for options for traditional and asymmetrical threat avoidance.
The transportation needs of today’s deployed warfighter are typically met by either highly mobile multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV) or a helicopter, which have limited availability. DARPA’s Transformer (TX) program seeks to combine the advantages of ground vehicles and helicopters into a single vehicle, maximizing flexibility of movement. The TX concept will provide options to counter traditional and asymmetrical threats while avoiding road obstructions.
The benefits of enhanced mobility are numerous. Transportation will no longer be restricted to trafficable terrain that makes movement predictable and easy to track. TX technology will enhance capabilities for resupply operations, fire-team insertion and extraction, and medical evacuation—reducing timelines and increasing the probability of survival. Key to the success of this technology is the ability for guidance, navigation and control of TX to be conducted without a dedicated pilot—increasing flexibility. The goal of the program is to define the major components and overall design of a TX vehicle that would be suitable for military scouting, personnel transport, and logistics missions. The Transformer program will examine the feasibility and approaches for developing vertical take-off and landing, road-worthy vehicles that carry a 4-person payload >250 NM on one tank of fuel, able to safely travel on roads and be operated by a typical soldier. Technical areas that will be explored include: hybrid electric drive ducted fan propulsion system, ring motors, energy storage methods such as batteries and ultra capacitors, morphing vehicle bodies, and advanced flight controls and flight management systems.
Dr. Ashish Bagaiashish.firstname.lastname@example.org