Military

US Army's hoverbike takes flight

US Army's hoverbike takes flig...
In its current form, the prototype is able carry 300 lb (136 kg)
In its current form, the prototype is able carry 300 lb (136 kg)
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Officials watch on as the US Army's 'hoverbike' takes flight
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Officials watch on as the US Army's 'hoverbike' takes flight
Army researchers show off a JTARV prototype
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Army researchers show off a JTARV prototype
What started as crazy DIY project in an Australian backyard six years ago has now blossomed into a cutting-edge aircraft for the US Army
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What started as crazy DIY project in an Australian backyard six years ago has now blossomed into a cutting-edge aircraft for the US Army
In its current form, the prototype is able carry 300 lb (136 kg)
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In its current form, the prototype is able carry 300 lb (136 kg)
On January 10, Department of Defense officials paid the ARL researchers a visit to see the JTARV in flight up close
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On January 10, Department of Defense officials paid the ARL researchers a visit to see the JTARV in flight up close

What started as crazy DIY project in an Australian backyard six years ago has now blossomed into a cutting-edge aircraft for the US Army. We've tracked the various iterations of the Malloy Hoverbike since inventor Chris Malloy first showed off a prototype in 2011, and now after teaming up the US Department of Defense the mechanical engineer has seen a military version of his little baby take flight, with officials hoping to use it for resupply missions to create an "Amazon on the battlefield."

The latest version of the oversized quadcopter might now have a suitably militarized moniker, joint tactical aerial resupply vehicle (JTARV), but is still known affectionately as a hoverbike, even in the US Army's press release.

Like the four-rotor vehicle we spied up close back in August 2014, the JTARV is an electric, rectangular-shaped quadcopter with the ability to do some heavy lifting.

On January 10, Department of Defense officials paid the ARL researchers a visit to see the JTARV in flight up close
On January 10, Department of Defense officials paid the ARL researchers a visit to see the JTARV in flight up close

In its current form the prototype is able carry 300 lb (136 kg), though army researchers are hoping to extend this by way of a hybrid propulsion system which could one day have it flying along at altitudes of thousands of feet and speeds of 60 mph (96 km/h).

"We're exploring increasing payload capacity to 800 lb (362 kg) and extending the range up to 125 miles (200 km)," said Tim Vong, associate chief of the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). "We're also looking to integrate advanced intelligent navigation and mission planning. We're looking to end up with a modular, stable platform that can be used for even more dynamic and challenging missions."

On January 10, Department of Defense officials paid the ARL researchers a visit to see the JTARV in flight and up close. You can check it out for yourself in the video below.

Army flies hoverbike prototype

Source: US Army

12 comments
Milton
This thing started as a 2-prop (2-duct) "hoverbike" on Kickstarter. After people started asking how the 2-prop design would work, it became a quad, and then people started asking why the overlap. I still haven't heard a good reason for the overlap. Please enlighten us. My guess is that this is just going to end up being a true large-scale quad. In which case the overlap design may have been a big waste of time and money.
MattII
@Milton, I don't know the diameter of the rotors, but I'd say at least 40-50cm, which would be good for stability, but not so much for storage.
u.r.a.bunchofdoofuses
no doubt the same people sucking taxpayers dry to pay for this are already helping our fabricated enemies be able to shoot the things down with something that costs a whole lot less.
UncleToad
If you're going to ride on that thing, I'd keep your dangly bits well away from those rotors!
Mzungu_Mkubwa
When a micro-turbine powered hybrid version with a recumbent, enclosed cabin shows up at the local Kawasaki dealership for less than $10K US, sign me up!
Ted Cushman
I'm sure those human supervisors can be warm and personable once you get to know them.
Neil Farbstein
They call it a hover bike. I guess they could put some bullet proof armor on it and soldiers could shoot down at targets from above.
FabianLamaestra
The video only shows a quad flying without a person or payload. Snooze.
Charles S Roscoe
What was the white box that was dropped 3/4 the way thru the video at the 1:57 mark? The white box shows at the beginning but not after it landed. No armor makes this a target unless it has Zig-Zag evasive maneuvers programmed in its flight path to throw off good aim.
PeterFonseca
Looks like something out of a Mission:Impossible movie. Hmm. I'll write the script as soon as I can!