The new Lockheed Martin Skunk Works division is now working on the building of drone’s able to transport both cars and storage containers. The company says it will be able to deliver soldiers for DARPA in the future.
The drone known as Transformer TX, is currently in a “Phase 3” process that is estimated at costing around $20.3 million. That means that the Lockheed company is now finalizing the design type for the prototype. And if DARPA is able to find the prototype to meet its standards, it can opt for a defense contract payment to place the drones in flight by 2015.
Lockheed has been in the works for the Transformer TX since early 2010. The original concept was to create a military-ready flying car, with the concept looking something like a mix between a Sedan and a helicopter. However, over the years, the company has found that an unmanned vehicle would be able to carry a vehicle of similar sizes. That would mean the vehicles could be picked up and transported by the drone to then be utilized separately.
The interchangeable payloads and subtraction of the pilot make the drone versatile as compared to the early concept, according to DARPA. Also, the current transformer TX design will suddenly take off and land vertically through a pivot capability of a ducted fan propulsion system. Such capability allows for the drop to take off like a helicopter.
According to Lockheed, the prototype for the Transformer TX will be capable of 250-mile treks on a single tank. When build, it will be small enough to travel on a one-lane road. However, the days of seeing drones buzz down the street are still a ways away, and Lockheed stated it will begin testing on a 33% model in wind tunnels within the next 12 months.
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