US Army flies UK built hover bike

The US military has successfully demonstrated the flying capabilities of a quad-copter hoverbike that it claims could transform the battlefield.

Developed by engineers from the US army research laboratory (ARL) in collaboration with UK manufacturer Malloy Aeronautics, the so-called Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle (JTARV) is being developed as a method of rapidly resupplying troops on the front line.

“Anywhere on the battlefield, Soldiers can potentially get resupplied in less than 30 minutes,” said Tim Vong, associate chief of ARL’s Protection Division. He likened the concept to “Amazon on the battlefield.”

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An earlier version of the hoverbike undergoes tethered manned flight tests

A video of the recent demonstration shows the vehicle performing simple manoeuvres in a controlled area. However the long term aim is to develop a vehicle flying low to the ground or at thousands of feet at speeds of 60 miles per hour or more.

hoverbikeWhile the current prototype is electric, researchers are looking at a hybrid propulsion system that may dramatically increase range.

“We’re exploring increasing payload capacity to 800 pounds and extending the range up to 125 miles,” Vong said. “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.”