The US Pentagon has announced a $US89 million contract for a prototype Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental aircraft which is part helicopter, part plane.
Dubbed LightningStrike, Aurora Flight Sciences has won the contact from DARPA – the Pentagon’s innovation think tank – with the goal of being airborne by 2018.
The LightningStike prototype builds on the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft being used the US Marines, but is designed to fly faster, carry more and use less fuel while being able to take off and land anywhere in the world.
he unmanned aircraft is supposed to reach sustained speeds between 300 and 400 knots and carry a load of 40 percent of its gross weight of roughly 12,000 pounds.
The plane’s power is a single Rolls Royce T406 turboshaft engine, the same as used in the V-22 Osprey.
The engine will be mounted inside the fuselage and pump out three megawatts of electrical power, which in turn will drive 24 fans.