The high command of the US armed forces took to the field on the last 20 to see the tests of what could be their next light combat vehicle – flying, of course. Lightly recalling the gadgets of the cartoon The Jetsons, the so-called vertival electric takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL) has a name: it is Hexa, from LIFT Aircraft, a candidate for the Air Force partner in the project.
Hexa has 18 independent rotors and takes only one person at a time. In addition to obviously flying, it can also float in the water thanks to four buoys (optional, depending on the desired configuration).
The platform must develop at high speed, but with low noise levels – necessary for “transporting combatants through enemy lines to be done by conventional vertical-lift aircraft”.
Budget and projects
The project is part of the American government’s initiative called Agility Prime, which aims to “accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles”. In the specific case of the US armed forces, the government was looking for a semi-autonomous flying vehicle to be used by your special operations forces.
In February, the Air Force launched the call for companies that wanted to present their flying vehicle designs capable of transporting soldiers and supplies to the battlefield. At the time, the head of military force acquisitions, Will Roper, joked that “now is the perfect time to make Jetsons cars real with Agility Prime”.
There are more than 15 aircraft manufacturers in the world in line to present their prototypes and thus get the contract that will give Agility Prime a fleet of 30 vehicles by 2030. According to Will Roper, the Air Force should spend US $ 25 million this year in the eVTOL acquisition program.