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Cryo Chamber

The Flying Humvee

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected two companies to proceed with the next stage of its Transformer, known as TX—a fully automated four-person vehicle that can drive like a car and then take off and fly like an aircraft to avoid roadside bombs. Lockheed Martin and AAI Corp., a unit of Textron Systems, are currently in negotiations with DARPA for the first stage of the Transformer project, several industry sources told Popular Mechanics at a robotics conference here in Denver.

AAI’s winning concept does not have a shrouded rotor, but it is also far from being a traditional helicopter. The company, which produces the Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle, is basing its proposal in part on the slowed-rotor/compound concept, a technology that uses rotor blades heavily weighted in the tips, or high inertia. The rotor provides lift on takeoff, and then as it gains speed, the rotor slows down and the wings provide lift.

Lockheed Martin has declined to detail any aspect of its submission, but those familiar with the Phantom Works project speculated that it might combine aspects of the company’s Joint Tactical Light Vehicle, a follow-on to the Humvee, with a ducted fan propulsion system that it would use to fly. – [source]

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