… Or at least, if you happen to live in Iraq or Afghanistan, one day, over your head, you might really see a vehicle that is something between an armored car, a helicopter and a small plane. In fact, the DARPA (who else?), a few months ago, has launched a tender among several manufacturers of military equipment for a project called Transformer.
The idea stems from the need to provide a defense homemade bombs (or IEDs, Improvised Explosive Devices) and from roadside ambushes, which represent the greatest threat to troops stationed in these troubled areas of the world. If the protection provided by armor plating is not sufficient to save soldiers and vehicles from such attacks, the solution could to fly over the threat.
The Transformer should be able to spread its wings and its rotor blades, similar to those of an helicopter and take off vertically within a maximum of 60 seconds, enough to escape ambushes, reaching an altitude of approximately 3000 meters. The driver of a Transformer need not have a flight patent because the flight is almost completely automated, and on a screen inside the vehicle he would see some sort of “virtual road“, so that whoever is sitting at the Transformer’s wheel should simply follow this path, just like a video game, to reach the destination safely.
A few days ago, DARPA announced that the contract for development of this technology has been entrusted to AAI Corporation, a Maryland based manufacturer, which has won a contract of over $ 3 million to create the first flying tank.