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DARPA Intros Large Seaplane Concept for Sustained Cargo Transport Flight

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has presented a large seaplane concept envisioned to meet heavy airlift requirements while being capable of sustained flight and taking off or landing on turbulent water surfaces.

The Liberty Lifter project is aimed at demonstrating a boost in transporting very large and heavy payloads without compromising flight speed and duration, DARPA said Wednesday.

The program is focused on delivering complex flight and sea surface controls and enabling extended maritime operations while retaining full-scale affordable production.

“This first phase of the Liberty Lifter program will define the unique seaplane’s range, payloads and other parameters. Innovative advances envisioned by this new DARPA program will showcase an X-plane demonstrator that offers warfighters new capabilities during extended maritime operations,” said Alexander Walan, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.

Current airlift vehicles have payload limitations and require long runways.