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 ")

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...' - Allan Dean Foster, 2006.

Tesla Autopilot's 40 Percent Crash Reduction
''I hope all those other cars are on automatic,' he said anxiously.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...' - James Blish, 1957.

Star Wars Speeder Bikes! On Water, By Jetovator
'Hey, wait!' Now, you don't need to say that.

 

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

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

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.