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DARPA Selects Four Companies to Develop Experimental VTOL Aircraft

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DARPA Selects Four Companies to Develop Experimental VTOL Aircraft

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is engaging with four defense contractors for an experimental take-off and landing aircraft that could outmatch the V-22 Osprey.

Under the Speed and Runway Independent Technologies program, Northrop Grumman, Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell Textron and Piasecki Aircraft are tasked with creating a prototype VTOL aircraft that can reach speeds of between 400 knots and 450 knots. According to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ian Higgins, manager of the SPRINT program, the experimental aircraft must also be able to hover, transition smoothly between hovering and forward flight and have a distributed power system that can power all propulsion systems.

At least one of the contractors must, by the spring of 2027, have built a prototype and completed its first flight, Defense News reported.

Both Northrop and Aurora Flight Sciences received separate DARPA contracts to develop novel aircraft platforms. Northrop, which received its contract in July, was tasked to build an autonomous VTOL aircraft that can operate from a moving Navy ship while Aurora Flight Sciences, which received its contract in January, was tasked to experiment with an aircraft that uses active flow control technology to improve maneuverability.

The two other contractors have their own VTOL platforms.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: Aurora Flight Sciences Bell Textron Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Defense and Intelligence DefenseNews Northrop Grumman Piasecki Aircraft Speed and Runway Independent Technologies vertical takeoff and landing aircraft