A new US military project looking to combine a ground vehicle and a helicopter has been generating online buzz. The new technology, which so far has surpassed initial expectations, could well be performing rescue and supply missions in the future.
Advanced Tactics, an El Segundo, California-based aerospace engineering company that specializes in the “development of next-generation military and civil vehicle technologies,” released a new video Tuesday of the “Black Knight.” Part transport vehicle and part helicopter, the Black Knight is categorized as a so-called “transforming vehicle” that hopes to function on the ground and in the air.
The project started as a proof of concept for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), although many have wondered if the project was ever expected to surpass the principle feasibility test. If the military currently has any intention to deploy a fleet of Black Knights, they are unknown.
Based on the Advanced Tactics video posted this week Advanced Tactics certainly seems to hope the project is impressive enough to warrant a new contract agreement from the Department of Defense. The video indicates that it is designed to cruise at up to 150 mph in the air, guided either by a pilot or autonomously.
A recent US government study on the specifics of medical evacuation provided more details on the possible uses of the Black Knight.
(1) Provide tactical commanders with increased tactical and operational flexibility; (2) Allow the execution of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Casualty Evacuation – these missions in conditions that manned platforms cannot (or should not) operate in, such as “zero-zero” weather or a contaminated environment; (3) Husband critical medical “first responder” resources; and (4) Act as a force multiplier of scarce “high demand/low density” medical evacuation assets.