Military Embedded Systems

High-speed vertical lift X-plane hits milestone


May 21, 2024

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

High-speed vertical lift X-plane hits milestone
Image via Aurora

MANASSAS, Virginia. Aurora Flight Sciences and Boeing reached the preliminary design review stage for their vertical lift X-plane design as part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiative known as Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT), Aurora announced in a statement.

The project, which recently completed its conceptual design review, aims to combine high speed with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities using a low-drag, fan-in-wing demonstrator. This demonstrator integrates a blended wing body design to enhance the agility and speed of air mobility and special operations missions, the company says.

The design features three lift fans, a refined composite exterior, and an uncrewed cockpit. The fan-in-wing technology, which enables a seamless transition from vertical to horizontal flight, may be scaled up in future developments to support a broader range of aircraft requirements, the statement reads.

Aurora's concept is designed to meet DARPA's program objectives, including achieving a 450-knot cruise speed and offering multiple take-off and landing configurations such as short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) and super short take-off and landing (SSTOL), the statement reads.

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