The United States is adapting civilian air taxi technology for use by the military

WASHINGTON, (BM) – The US Air Force began demonstration tests of promising civil aircraft of various classes in order to adapt their technologies for the development of military equipment, learned citing Popular Mechanics.

Read more: The Israeli Air Force Can Use a Great Number of UAV in Different Missions Simultaneously

In total, 15 American aircraft companies have applied to participate in the Agility Prime program. The first company presented its development is LIFT Aircraft – it is an 18-rotor individual aircraft Hexa. The program started in mid-April 2020, based on its results, the military expects to obtain technologies that will reduce the cost of technical maintenance of equipment and the time for its repair.

In addition, the US Department of Defense is interested in civilian developments in the field of automatic unmanned flight, technology to reduce the noise of aircraft and distributed propulsion systems. The military also hopes to get technologies that will make aircraft independent of infrastructure, including airfield runways.

The Agility Prime program will be directly linked to a tender that the US Air Force will launch before the end of this year. It provides for rapid prototyping and testing of electric and hybrid vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

Aircraft of the Agility Prime project are planned to be put into service in 2023. According to the requirements of the military, they must transport from three to eight people at a distance of up to 160 kilometers at a speed of at least 160 km/h.

Airbus recently tested its fully autonomous air taxi for the first time in public: it is an octacopter with paired propellers with a diameter of 2.8 meters, fixed on four beams, like small amateur drones. The power plant is eight Siemens electric motors with a maximum power of 100 kilowatts (130 horsepower) each.

Read more: Germany pays an additional $32.4M to continue using Heron-1 UAV in Mali

Transporting people by drones is not a new technology. Israel did it two years ago

As we reported in February last year the Israeli defence forces (IDF) evaluated the potential of the Urban Aeronautics (UA) Cormorant VTOL UAS for cargo and casualty evacuation roles.

The tactical robotics Cormorant VTOL UAS recently demonstrated its capability to perform medical evacuation missions in combat zones.

Tactical Robotics is a subsidiary of Urban Aeronautics (UA) the Israeli company that has been developing this unique VTOL UAS.

The demo was performed at the Megiddo Airfield in Northern Israel, and included taking off with a load of cargo, performing a pre-planned flight to a specified point of delivery, off-loading the cargo, and loading of a specialized, medical training manikin simulating a casualty which was then returned to the point of origin.

A monitor supplied by the Israeli defence forces (lDF) chief surgeon Trauma, transmitted vital information to the crews on the ground. This in addition to a video camera for two-way communication with the patient. With the exception of the loading of the ‘casualty’ and off—loading of cargo, the entire simulated mission was performed autonomously.

According to Rafi Yoeli president and CEO of Tactical Robotics, the demonstration, a combination of cargo delivery and casualty evacuation, reflects Cormorant’s unique dual—role capability as the only UAS recognized by NATO to fulfill both cargo delivery and CasEvac missions. H added that as such, the aircraft is designed to exceed the standard

Reliability and handling qualities required of a typical. tactical UAV in order to meet the requirements to safely ferry human “cargo” back from the battlefield.

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“We see the Israeli defence forces as our first customer and we have been working with their experts to define the needed capabilities” said Yoeli.

The Cormorant is powered by the Safran Arriel 2 engine.According to the Israeli company , this shift to Arriel 2 power takes the Cormorant from its current status close to the final status configuration. Yoeli added that the Cormorant is the first UAV designed in accordance with FAA passenger carrying certification standards in order to be able to transport casualties or others needing evacuation from access challenged locations.


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