Boe­ing Phan­tom Swift selected for DARPA X-plane com­pe­ti­tion

SP's MAI - - TECHNOLOGY -

Phan­tom Swift, a pro­to­type Boe­ing ini­tially built in less than a month, has been ac­cepted to be part of the De­fense Ad­vanced Re­search Project Agency (DARPA) ver­ti­cal take­off and land­ing (VTOL) X-plane pro­gramme. DARPA is try­ing to ma­ture a new air­craft con­fig­u­ra­tion ca­pa­ble of both ef­fi­cient hover and high-speed cruise. “Prov­ing these ca­pa­bil­i­ties in a sin­gle air­craft has been the holy grail for tac­ti­cal mil­i­tary avi­a­tion,” said Dan New­man, Boe­ing Phan­tom Works Ad­vanced Ver­ti­cal Lift cap­ture team lead. “We’re con­fi­dent that Phan­tom Swift could be the so­lu­tion.”

Through a $17 mil­lion agree­ment with DARPA’s Tac­ti­cal Tech­nol­ogy Of­fice, Boe­ing in­tends to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing its tech­nol- ogy for an air­craft that takes off and lands ver­ti­cally, hovers and ef­fi­ciently flies at speeds up to 400 knots.

“De­sign­ing an air­craft to per­form a ver­ti­cal take­off, while main­tain­ing ad­e­quate low-speed con­trol, is chal­leng­ing. Sus­tain­ing ef­fi­cient hover is also dif­fi­cult, and adding a high cruis­ing speed is even more chal­leng­ing,” New­man added.

Af­ter a 22-month ef­fort in­volv­ing sev­eral com­peti­tors, DARPA plans to se­lect a model for fab­ri­ca­tion and flight demon­stra­tion.

Phan­tom Swift fea­tures two large lift fans – in­side the fuse­lage – that pro­vide ef­fi­cient ver­ti­cal lift. Once the air­craft tran­si­tions to cruise mode, the fans are cov­ered. It also fea­tures smaller ducted fans on the wingtips that pro­vide for­ward thrust, and pro­vide additional lift and con­trol in hover.

Last year, Phan­tom Works used rapid pro­to­typ­ing and ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques, such as 3-di­men­sional print­ing, to quickly de­sign, build and fly a scaled-down Phan­tom Swift.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.