DH - Defence Helicopter

Aurora contracted for X-Plane phase 2

7th March 2016 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Aurora Flight Sciences has been awarded a contract by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for phase two of the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL) X-Plane programme, the company announced on 3 March.

Under the second phase, the VTOL X-Plane programme seeks to create a technology demonstrator that can carry a load of at least 40% of the vehicle’s projected gross weight of 10,000-12,000lbs; present a cruise lift-to-drag ratio of at least ten, up from five-six; raise aircraft hover efficiency from 60% to at least 75%; and achieve a top sustained flight speed of 300kts-400kts.

LightningStrike, the aircraft designed by Aurora, aims to offer an around 50% higher speed compared to existing VTOL aircraft; increased efficiency in both hover and high-speed forward flight; a synchronous electric-drive system; distributed hybrid-electric propulsion ducted fans; and both tilt-wing- and tilt-canard-based propulsion for VTOL.

Aurora plans to test the technology demonstrator in flight in 2018.

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