DARPA's New Vertical Take-Off Aircraft Concept is Mighty Impressive

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Yesterday, DARPA – the US government agency that makes all sorts of mental robotics among other defence-related goodies – unveiled the latest concept design for its new vertical take-off and landing craft. And hell this electric airplane looks awesome.

DARPA has in fact awarded the second phase of its design contract to the concept, which has been created by Aurora Flight Sciences. Called X-Plane, it will use a 4,000 horsepower engine (the same one as is in the existing VTOL craft the V-22 Osprey, according to Engadget) to create 3 megawatts of electricity. In turn, that will be used to power 24 fans dotted along the airframe to create thrust.

The result? Hopefully flight speeds of between 300 and 400 knots and the ability to carry payloads that make up 40 per cent of its expected 4.5-tonne total weight. And an aircraft that looks totally badass, of course. [DARPA via Engadget]