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Designs revealed for DARPA’s ANCILLARY VTOL UAS programme

23rd May 2024 - 14:50 GMT | by Damian Kemp in London


Sikorsky has been flight testing a rotor blown wing tail sitter VTOL UAS. (Image: Sikorsky)

Six bidders have been competing for DARPA’s AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY (ANCILLARY) programme for a low-weight, large-payload, long-endurance VTOL uncrewed X-plane.

DARPA has unveiled images of all six design concepts for its ANCILLARY programme on which the agency will expect to see the end of design maturation before mid-2025 followed by X-plane flight tests in early 2026.

The agency’s objective with the programme has been “to increase small VTOL UAS capabilities by a factor of three over the current state-of-the-art flying today [which means finding] innovative ways to increase payload weight and range/endurance of small, ship-launched UAS by means of novel configurations, propulsion and controls, while also removing the need for special infrastructure”.

In Phase Ia, the programme explored conceptual designs from nine non-traditional and

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Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp

Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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