Home » Government/Regulators » US Air Force Considers Flying Cars for Rescue Missions

US Air Force Considers Flying Cars for Rescue Missions

Roundel of the US Air Force (USAF)
Roundel of the US Air Force (USAF)

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) recently released a solicitation for proposals and bids to develop an autonomous aircraft (drone) to be used to rescue military personnel.

The concept, based on flying car technologies being developed worldwide, is for a vehicle that would be air-dropped from a C-130 aircraft, slowed down with the use of parachutes, and then make its way to pick up downed pilots and soldiers behind enemy lines or other difficult-to-reach land or sea locations.

The vehicle, to be known as a Personnel Recovery/Transport Vehicle (PR/TV) calls for a “low-cost aerial platform” without a traditional pilot. It must have a range of at least 100 nautical miles, horizontal flight speeds exceeding 100 knots, room for a stretcher, and four military personnel. It also must be operable in density altitude conditions of 95 degrees Fahrenheit at 4,000 feet.

Companies can submit Phase I proposals for design or Phase II proposals demonstrating their vehicles. The PR/TV is part of the US military’s strategy to move to a distributed basing model that can increase the number of vehicles available for such missions and decrease response times to insert or extract at-risk personnel.

Differing from civilian flying cars, the PR/TVs must be quiet throughout their flight and be all-electric, although a hybrid propulsion system with an enhance acoustic signature while en route is acceptable.

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.