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During World War II, the Jeep was one of the key pieces of hardware that helped win the war for the Allies. By the time Vietnam rolled along, lousy roads and inhospitable terrain meant the helicopter had cemented itself as the troop transport of choice. But while both the Jeep and the helicopter are far more advanced than they were decades ago, the basic ideas are the same, and according to Popular Mechanics that could change – or more to the point, merge – soon.

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is asking for proposals for a flying Humvee that it calls, predictably, "The Transformer." The new transporter would be used to avoid roadside bombs and fly over insurgents, giving U.S. soldiers the upper-hand in battles that are traditionally won and lost by bunkers, bullets and bombs alone.

DARPA has a few 'must haves' for any flying fortress. Among them is the capability of vertical takeoff, a combined 250 mile travel distance between driving and flying, along with seating for four. One military contractor, Textron, thinks it has the answer to DARPA's latest challenge, and it involves hardware that is anything but future-tech.

The proposed military transport has wings, helicopter-like rotors and a powerful ducted fan for forward motion. While stationed on the ground, the multitasking war machine acts like a standard troop transporter, except the wings and blades, which are affixed to the roof above the rear seat, neatly tucked away. When it's time to hit the unfriendly skies the aerodynamic bits switch to Ready mode and the weighted rotors lift the vehicle. Once airborne, the rotors slow and the wings take over, providing lift while the fan provides directional boost. Textron is working with Carter Aviation Technologies, which currently produces commercial air vehicles, to build the vehicle.

Head over to Popular Mechanics for more information on the flying fighter-truck of tomorrow.

[Source: Popular Mechanics | Image: dvice]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      You had me going, there, until I saw the "Popular Mechanics" link, and realized this will never happen.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Just like most "secret future military" things in Popular Mechanics...
      • 4 Years Ago
      As a former U.S. Army pilot all I have to say is...

      If they pull this off Ft. Rucker's about to get real crowded.

      The chances of this getting fielded before they start to replace pilots with UAV helicopters... 0%. Especially considering the fact that it costs over $1M to train an Army pilot from the ground up. It's not like a 2 day drivers training course.
        • 4 Years Ago
        not to mention the inherent issues with mass vs lift, esp with rotor-wing. that thing can be neither swift nor simple. it will get riddled with bullet holes, dropped by RPGs and prob takes 5 mins to transition (i mean 'transform').
        a short take-off vehicle that can utilize a main drive and perhaps has 'jumping' ability instead (think batmobile). smooth take-off and landing will be too complex for this machine to actually be useful or combat worthy
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very similar to the Mercedes Benz bionic concept car.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_Bionic


      I think this is going to be the future road vehicles most common shape.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Im still waiting for my jetpack.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just buy some MI-24 from the Russians.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Insurgents can still shoot it down with Rocket-Propelled Grenades.
      • 4 Years Ago
      your bring out the dam robotrons they have jezz.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah a Jeep can't fly and a Helicopter can't drive but this just seems like it would compromise the functionality of both machines for the sake of having one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So would the civilian model be even larger built on a less airworthy frame and be used primarily to ferry children to and from school?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Screw all that.. I want my Mech. Soldiers damnit! I want 2 story tall exoskelotons with lazers, guns, and um... direct tv! /sarcasm.

      This has to be a joke. While the idea yes is great pulling off would be cost alot of money plus the amount of each transport would be so absurd that they'd most likely only use it for high ranking offical transports.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why'd you have to bring up Textron?! I haven't stopped kicking myself for not buying their stock when it hit $3 a year and a half ago. Money was just too tight at the time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks cool. But...no way it's going to happen. UAVs are the future.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why do they persist with these ludicrous lies? Is it to aid recruiting? Is it to encourage continued military spending? Is the average young American really stupid enough to buy into this BS?
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