Darpa’s Flying Humvee Goes Diesel

Photo: Wired.com

By Spencer Ackerman|Wired.com

How do you get a flying Humvee into the air — and keep it aloft for 250 nautical miles? A diesel engine, according to Darpa.

The Pentagon futurists are dead-set on creating a Humvee that flies. In September, it awarded a $3 million contract for its Transformer project to Maryland’s AAI Corporation to begin tests on its helicopter-airplane-truck hybrid. Yesterday the project took another step forward: California’s Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, which makes engines for Air Force fighter jets and transport planes, got $1 million from Darpa to provide the beating heart of the Transformer.

According to a company statement, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne are going to model the Transformer engine on their EnduroCORE, a diesel engine that generates a “high power-to-weight ratio comparable to gas turbines.” It’ll need to. Darpa’s specifications for the flying Humvee require the Transformer to stay in the air carrying up to 1000 pounds for up to 250 miles without refueling. Diesel’s energy efficiency apparently satisfied Darpa’s suggestion that the Transformer be at least somewhat green.

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