DARPA's Transformer Project One Step Closer to Reality

Back in April, a project that was originally found in some government documents a year before, broke cover thanks to a PDF document that had been made public. That project was known as the Transformer project, and the idea was to make an amalgamation of the military's Humvee (or any armored truck, for that matter), and a helicopter. Pipe dreams for those at DARPA was the general consensus, but it seems the government agency was very serious about their efforts, and now thanks to an aerospace defense company, the Transformer project is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The aerospace defense company, called AAI Corporation, is a Maryland-based unit, and they recently won a $3.05 million contract with DARPA, with the explicit hope that the Corporation can get the Transformer technology up and off the ground. AAI is working with another company, called Carter Aviation Technologies, to develop something called "compound helicopter" technology. This would allow the vehicle to carry up to four passengers, but it would feature rotor blades on the top, where –if necessary– the vehicle would be able to ascend into the air in a moment's notice. The take-off will be automated, so those in the vehicle won't have to have any training in flight.

The armored flying vehicle is meant to do a lot different tasks. DARPA wants the Transformer project, known as the Transformer TX back in April, to partake in "strike and raid" scenarios, as well as "intervention, interdiction, insurgency/counterinsurgency, reconnaissance, medical evacuation, and logistical supply." It would be, just as the Humvee is now, a work horse, but one that's able to drive or fly on command. And the Transformer is supposed to be able to carry upwards of 1,000 pounds, as well as fly up to 10,000 feet, and travel 250 miles on a single tank of gas.

[via Wired]