DARPA has now awarded the second of two Transformer “flying Humvee” study contracts to Lockheed Martin. We just want to know when we’ll get to see both concepts fight in a desert death match. Let’s get ready to rotor!
The first contract to design the TX “fly-drive” tactical vehicle was awarded to AAI, for a concept equipped with folding rotor and wing (shown below). AAI’s TX design uses Carter Aviation Technologies’ slowed-rotor/compound concept, which is essentially an autogyro that can slow its rotor in flight to fly like a fixed-wing aircraft. To convert from vehicle to aircraft, the wing is unfolded, the rotor mast raised and the blades unfolded. The turboshaft engine spins up the unpowered, high-inertia rotor for a vertical “jump” takeoff, then drives a ducted fan for forward thrust and flight control.