Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Air Systems

Manned and unmanned aerial systems, including fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and supporting technologies

Showing 9 results for Air + Logistics RSS
04/04/2017
DARPA has completed flight-testing of a sub-scale version of a novel aircraft design as part of its vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) X-Plane program, and is proceeding with work to develop a full-scale version of the groundbreaking plane. Developed and fabricated by Aurora Flight Sciences, the revolutionary aircraft includes 24 electric ducted fans—18 distributed within the main wings and six in the canard surfaces, with the wings and canards tilting upwards for vertical flight and rotating to a horizontal position for wing-borne flight.
October 15, 2015,
DARPA Headquarters
The objective of DARPA’s new ICARUS program is to create vanishing platforms for airborne delivery of small payloads. Supply and re-supply of small military and civilian teams in difficult-to-access territory currently requires large parachute-based delivery systems that must be packed out after receipt of the payload both for operational security and environmental concerns. Last-minute registration for the program’s Proposers Day is possible on-site and potential performers in the program who cannot attend can learn more by way of the registration web page, the Broad Agency Announcement posted on FedBizOpps, and a lay-language DARPA UPdate on the Agency’s web site.
Difficult terrain and threats such as ambushes and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) can make ground-based transportation to and from the front line a dangerous challenge. Helicopters can easily bypass those problems but present logistical challenges of their own, and can subject flight crew to different types of threats. They are also expensive to operate, and the supply of available helicopters cannot always meet the demand for their services, which cover diverse operational needs including resupply, fire-team insertion and extraction, and casualty evacuation.
For the past 60 years, helicopters have provided essential vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities–omnidirectional maneuverability, hovering, landing on almost any flat surface–for countless military operations. Even as VTOL aircraft technology continues to advance, however, one key goal still remains elusive: improving top speed beyond 150 kt-170 kt. Faster VTOL aircraft could shorten mission times and increase the potential for successful operations, while reducing vulnerability to enemy attack. Unfortunately, new VTOL designs so far have been unable to increase top speed without unacceptable compromises in range, efficiency, useful payload or simplicity of design.