One of the first to respond to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) call seeking designs for a tactical flying car under its Transformer (TX) program is the AVX Aircraft Company. Its AVX Aircraft can be manually driven on the ground like an SUV and also boasts Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities.

The stated objective of the TX program is to “demonstrate a four person flyable/roadable vehicle that will provide the warfighter with terrain-independent mobility. This presents unprecedented capability to avoid traditional and asymmetrical threats while avoiding road obstructions.” The TX will be designed to enhance future operations with use in strike and raid, intervention, interdiction, insurgency/counterinsurgency, reconnaissance, medical evacuation and logistical supply.

The Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) from DARPA called for a design that:

  • could be manually driven on the ground like an SUV
  • rapidly configures between ground and flight configuration
  • has Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capability
  • has a cruise speed equivalent to a light aircraft
  • has automated takeoff/landing flight control.
  • AVX met these performance requirements with its AVX TX design that has:

    • 1,040 lb payload
  • 250 nautical mile range on one tank of fuel
  • 10,000 ft mean sea level altitude at max gross weight
  • 80mph on road speed, 30mph rough terrain speed
  • 140mph flying speed
  • converts from road to flight mode in 60 seconds
  • AVX says its TX will also have intuitive controls that will provide non-pilot operator control and navigation systems that are intuitive enough to facilitate the transition from road to flight operations. The vehicle’s dual ducted fans will provide propulsion both on the ground and in the air.

    Additionally the AVX (TX) can be quickly converted to medivac with a vehicle operator, medical attendant and littered patient. It can also be converted to a resupply vehicle and can move 12,50 lbs as an unmanned vehicle using a sling or 1,000 lbs as a manned vehicle with the same 250 nm range.

    Source: AVX