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Boeing is working on a VTOL aircraft for the Pentagon

Published on 29/09/2014 08:00 - By

It is just a 1/5th scale prototype for now, but by 2018, the "Phantom Swift", developed by Boeing, could conceivably used by the US Army. At the beginning of this year, Darpa, the American government agency responsible for defense technology innovations, launched the beginning of a call for tenders for the creation of a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft to highly detailed specifications.

The aircraft must be capable of flying at a top speed of 700 km/h (>430 mph), carry a payload of over 5,000 kgs (11,000 lbs), and able to hover. In other words, an improved Boeing-Bell V-22 Osprey type aircraft.

Four manufacturers have taken up the challenge, but the American aircraft manufacturer’s engineers, based in Philadelphia, in the northeast of the United States, are the best placed, for the time being. They have just received an additional financial injection of more than $ 9 million from Darpa, and now have an additional 14 months to refine their project.

Perry Ziegenbein, “Phantom Swift” Chief Engineer - Boeing : (Interview in the video).

For this experimental aircraft project, Darpa has an overall budget of $ 130 million. Eventually, the Phantom Swift, currently designed to be remotely controlled, will measure thirteen metres (42.5 ft.) long with a fifteen metre (>49 ft.) wingspan. Boeing does not, however, rule out the possibility of including an onboard piloted version. First test flights are planned for the end of 2017.

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