The US government has big plans for the battlefield of the future and they look a sound an awful lot like an 80’s toy commercial.
Specifically, Darpa has been working on the “Transformer” project, which is a Humvee that can transform into a helicopter and then release retractable wings for faster flight. So, basically it’s a car, helicopter and plane all rolled into one. (Basically, they’re looking for a small troop transport that can avoid roadside bombs.)
DARPA just signed a $3.05 million contract with AAI corporation to try and develop the project, which has a number of interesting specifications. It must have:
- an automated take off function, so soldiers don’t have to be pilots.
- to be able to carry four soldiers and get as high as 10,000 feet.
- travel 250 miles on a single tank of gas.
- the ability to handle small arms fire.
(I’d expect a flying car to have some sort of cup holders, too.) Now, don’t get too excited about seeing a flying army car anytime soon. This money only includes the initial feasibility study until fall 2011. Any prototype wouldn’t be due until 2013. (And it’ll probably be on toy shelves in 2014.)