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DARPA Eyes Development of Runway-Independent Aircraft

Speed and Runway

Independent Aircraft

program

DARPA Eyes Development of Runway-Independent Aircraft

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to develop a high-speed aircraft that does not need a runway to operate.

DARPA is working with the U.S. Special Operations Command on the Speed and Runway Independent Technologies program. DARPA Director and two-time Wash100 winner Stefanie Tompkins said during the Global SOF Foundation Air Warfare Symposium that the anticipated SPRINT aircraft will combine runway independence with high-speed and mobility capabilities.

Tompkins explained that the aircraft could be used for emergency medical evacuations and warfighter infiltration in hard-to-reach areas.

A broad agency announcement is expected in the coming weeks, Nextgov reported.

The U.S. military has been modernizing its runway-independent fleet over the past few years. In 2016, for instance, the U.S. Army issued a call to modernize its unmanned aircraft fleet with the goal of being more forward-placed and more responsive to threats.

The 2016 announcement included new acquisitions, upgrades and planned demonstrations for several helicopters and vertical lift aircraft, such as the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator and the Future Vertical Lift platforms. The announcement stated that the deadline for runway-independent vehicles is 2025.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Defense and Intelligence Nextgov Speed and Runway Independent Technologies Stefanie Tompkins US Special Operations Command