The project began as a DIY adventure in an Australian backyard about six years ago, but it is now an official cutting-edge aircraft for the US Army. Meet the Hoverbike, the brainchild of local inventor Chris Malloy, who first burst the scene in 2011.
Since then, the mechanical engineer has teamed up with the US Department of Defense, and now he has witnessed his invention’s military version take flight for the first time, with the army hoping to use this technology to resupply the troops like an “Amazon on the battlefield.”
Although the oversized quadcopter now has a suitable militarized moniker and a joint tactical aerial resupply vehicle (JTARV), yet it was still called a hoverbike even in the US Army’s press release. The JTARV is a rectangular electric quadcopter that can lift pretty heavy loads.
The current version can carry over 300 lb (136 kg), and the Army researchers are now looking to extend this limit by using a hybrid propulsion system which could give it the ability to fly at thousands of feet and speeds of up to 60 mph (96 km/h).
Tim Vong, associate chief of ARL’s Protection Division, mentioned
“We’re exploring increasing payload capacity to 800 lb (362 kg) and extending the range up to 125 miles (200 km),” said Tim Vong, associate chief of the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). “We’re also looking to integrate advanced intelligent navigation and mission planning. We’re looking to end up with a modular, stable platform that can be used for even more dynamic and challenging missions.”
You can check out more details on the prototype by watching the video below.
How do you think this prototype can be used in other domains? Comment below!