Pentagon Funding High-Speed Vertical Takeoff X-Plane

The Pentagon has started funding for a new program called SPRINT, which aims to produce a next-generation high-speed vertical takeoff X-plane resembling the V-22 Osprey.

Pentagon Funding High-Speed Vertical Takeoff X-Plane 1

Four commercial businesses have received funding from the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to construct a next-generation aircraft that resembles the V-22 Osprey.

Because of its unique capacity to take off and land vertically, much like a helicopter, the Osprey has found widespread use and can operate in locations lacking runways. The goal of DARPA’s SPRINT (Speed and Runway Independent Technologies) program is to create a similar aircraft that can travel at even higher speeds.

“What we … want to be able to achieve is higher-end speeds,” said Navy Commander Ian Higgins to a US media outlet. “We’re going another 100-plus knots beyond [the Osprey], which itself challenges physics if you were just to use the propulsion system that’s in the Osprey.”

The maximum speed of the current V-22 Osprey is 270 knots or slightly more than 300 miles per hour. By spring 2027, DARPA hopes to have developed an airplane that can reach speeds of 460 to 520 miles per hour.

However, DARPA still has a long list of other features it hopes the new technology will provide. The agency hopes to build technology at this stage that will inform future initiatives, although it is not requiring the design to be functional.

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Nonetheless, 40% of the vehicle’s anticipated weight must be carried by the aircraft, indicating that DARPA is looking for an aircraft that can support the Osprey’s logistical needs.

Funds have been granted to Bell Textron, Northrop Grumman, Piasecki Aircraft Corp, Aurora Flight Sciences (a Boeing subsidiary), and Northrop Grumman to start developing their concepts. Physically, several of the early ideas seem to be comparable to the Osprey, such as the one from Bell Textron.

According to an indictment made public by lawmakers on Monday, the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors Office stated that the Chinese plotted to steal a US Chinook helicopter through a pilot now known by his surname Hsieh.

Some, such as the Auroran one, seem to provide a less sophisticated design, which might be an attempt to avoid the Osprey’s technological complexity.

The US Marine Corps values the V-22 Osprey for its logistical capabilities, however, since its launch in 2007, the aircraft has seen multiple catastrophic failures that have resulted in the deaths of at least 53 service members. Eight members of the Air Force Special Operations Command were killed in a crash off the coast of Japan earlier this month, which led to the jet being grounded across the US armed forces once more.

A recent investigation looked at the Osprey’s intricate mechanical design, which makes it challenging to maintain and operate.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. “Nonetheless, 40% of the vehicle’s anticipated weight must be carried by the aircraft”, umm…, no, 100% of the vehicle’s weight must be carried by the aircraft!!! 😅🤣😂🤪🤪 who writes this stuff?

  2. First feature necessary is for it to reliably fly, all the time. Second feature would be to meet design performance specifications before $1. Is paid out. Third design feature should be to have the same warranty as commercial aircraft. Forth feature should be that if design specs are not reached on first flight, all prepaid money is refunded to the taxpayers. The mil/ind complex has GOT to quit foisting crap on the military!

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