`US military mulling flying cars to transport troops`

US troops in war-torn Afghanistan may soon get a new mode of transportation as top military bosses are considering procuring advanced vehicles that can also fly over the battlefield to avoid enemy attacks.

Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 20:44 PM IST

London: US troops in war-torn Afghanistan may
soon get a new mode of transportation as top military bosses
are considering procuring advanced vehicles that can also fly
over the battlefield to avoid enemy attacks.

When on ground, the vehicle would function just like a
big four-wheel-drive Humvee. But it would also be able to take
off like a helicopter and fly away from trouble or to avoid
enemy road blocks, the Telegraph reported.

About 41 million pounds have already been given to US
firm Terrafugia which is developing the world`s first flying
car, said the report.

According to the report, the Pentagon`s Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency wants to develop a four person
flyable and road worthy vehicle.

Terrafugia, which has developed the Transition Flying
Car, is the largest subcontractor to one of two winning teams.

The vehicle, known as the Transformer, or TX, would have
what the project bosses describe as "unprecedented capability
to avoid traditional and asymmetrical threats while avoiding
road obstructions."

Intended missions would include medical evacuation,
avoiding improvised explosive devices, remote resupply and
taking special forces into the battle zone.

The vehicle will be able to travel 280 miles by land and
air, using vertical take-off and landing to increase access to
difficult terrain.

It will also have automatic flight controls so it can be
flown by non-pilots.

Phase one of the five year, three-phase programme will
focus on conceptual design of both a prototype and a
production vehicle.

Phases two and three will focus on the design and
manufacture of the prototype, which could be ready as early as
first quarter 2015.

The work calls for Terrafugia`s expertise in drive and
flight integration, deployable flight surfaces, and automotive
crash safety for an aircraft.

Company Chief Carl Dietrich said: "Our strong team of
Terrafugia engineers with recent experience designing and
building a dual purpose vehicle will bring a unique
perspective to the TX programme."

Terrafugia`s Transition flying car is on schedule from
detailed design for production in the second half of 2011. The
company is based in Woburn, Massachusetts and was founded by
five pilots.

PTI