Ashish Bagai: DARPA Taps 4 Contractors to Blend New, Existing Tech for ‘X-Plane’ Design Project

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DroneLaunchCarrierFour companies will work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to help design prototypes of a vertical-takeoff-and-landing hybrid aircraft.

Boeing, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Aurora Flight Sciences and Karem Aircraft will build the prototypes under DARPA’s VTOL X-Plane program, the agency said Tuesday.

DARPA wants to create an aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter, as well as to incorporate both manned and unmanned technologies.

“The proposals we’ve chosen aim to create new technologies and incorporate existing ones that VTOL designs so far have not succeeded in developing,” said Ashish Bagai, a DARPA program manager.

“We’re eager to see if the performers can integrate their ideas into designs that could potentially achieve the performance goals we’ve set.”

Preliminary designs are due to the agency in late 2015 and the agency also wants to perform flight tests between 2017 and 2018 after selecting a design for the technology demonstration phase.

Contractors will be responsible for building X-Planes that achieve speeds of up to 460 miles per hour and weigh between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds.

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