DARPA Vulture Five Year Flying Wing

DARPA's Vulture is yet another of the agency's blue sky programs, this one maybe more than others. Vulture is intended to fly for periods of up to five years unattended at 65,000 feet.


(DARPA Vulture - aircraft with a 5 year flight plan)

Here's what DARPA requested:

The VULTURE Air Vehicle Program is an exploratory development program with the overall goal to develop and demonstrate the ability to deliver and maintain an airborne payload on station for an uninterrupted period exceeding 5 years using a heavier-than-air platform system... The Government is not interested in approaches that use either radioactive energy sources or employs any form of buoyant flight for this application.

...develop technologies and systems which will enable the Military to deliver and maintain a 1000 lb, 5 kW airborne payload for an uninterrupted period exceeding 5 years with a 99+% on station probability.

The intent is that DARPA's Vulture would orbit over a small, well-defined area (like a battlefield) and provide continuous coverage of that area. Vulture is intended to operate in a manner similar to a satellite, except that it has the advantages of not being bound by orbital mechanics. The only satellites that can remain stationary over one spot must orbit at 22,240 miles - and this trick works only along the equator. Low-flying spy satellites scoot quickly over their coverage area. If the Vulture can be accomplished, you would see dramatic increases in sensor resolution and communications capability.

I can't understand why none of the articles I read on this program include references to the amazing Helios program. Helios is a single wing, solar-powered aircraft that has performed admirably above Hawaii in tests performed in 2001.


(Helios above Kauai, Hawaii)

Helios is an ultralight flying wing with 14 electric motors built by AeroVironment Inc. Helios' 247-foot wingspan exceeds that of a Boeing 747. Operating entirely under solar power (including the take-off), Helios reached an altitude just short of 100,000 feet, which broke records for non-rocket powered flight. At that altitude, Helios approached conditions for winged flights in the atmosphere of Mars.

It's not quite the same thing, but both the DARPA Vulture and Helios remind me of the Flying Wing from Triplanetary, the 1934 novel by 'Doc' Smith. the Flying Wing was also able to fly to near-space.

Read more about DARPA pushes limits of unmanned aircraft capability to extremes; via Dvice. See also DARPA Vulture project description. Here's a nice DARPA sfnal project list; also, if you're not familiar with Helios, check out this awesome Helios picture gallery.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/4/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.' - John Jacob Astory, 1894.

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...' - Dr. David Keller, 1928.

Drone-Based Aerial Hammock
'The observation vehicle... was suspended by a pair of cables from the kite-copter.' - Jack Vance, 1952.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Trash Sorting AI Robot Presages Skynet, Thanks A Lot
Keep your head down, Kyle Reese.

Electric Unicycle Is A Tumblebug
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'

reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'

Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'

Medical Assistant Robot May Roam The Halls Of Hospitals
'Take care, sir.'

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'

Are You Ready For Commercial Space Travel?
'It wasn't a pleasant trip; it was a miserable trip on a miserable, undersized tourist rocket...'

Amplified Nerves Lead To Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hands
'The electrical impulses generated by your brain command everything...'

FlyCroTug Micro Drones Do Heavy Lifting
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock on...'

Virtual Whitney Houston In Concert
Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.