20 September 2010

Transformers! HMMWV's In Disguise!

Yep, DARPA wants a flying, transforming HMMWV.

Every service member is a rifleman. But someday, they may be an aviator, too.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to develop a “flying Humvee” that could be piloted by troops with about the same amount of training it takes to drive an armored truck. Called “Transformer,” it would patrol on the ground, but have the ability to quickly take to the air should the going get too tough.

A working prototype could be ready by 2015. In the weeks to come, DARPA is expected to turn to several defense companies for research, and some have already created conceptual designs.

The Marines and Air Force are studying the idea. The Army could be next.

The Transformer would carry four combat-ready troops and equipment, totaling more than 1,000 pounds, according to DARPA. It would be able to fly and drive about 250 miles on a single tank and could take off and land vertically. It would also be capable of flying autonomously to a designated location.

The vehicle’s designers say it could offer several key advantages with the ability to avoid improvised explosive devices, chief among them. The vehicle would allow troops to hop over roadside bombs simply by flying above them. And while the vehicle would not posses nearly the amount of armor current vehicles do since it must be light to fly, it would still offer protection against most small-arms fire.

By: Brant

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