DARPA Vertical Takeoff and Landing X-Plane

DARPA’s AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY X-Plane program, nicknamed ANCILLARY, aims to develop and flight demonstrate critical technologies required for a leap ahead in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), low-weight, high-payload, and long-endurance capabilities. The goal is to build a plane that can launch from ship flight decks and small austere land locations in adverse weather without launch and recovery equipment typically needed for these systems.

A large non-traditional commercial industry base has fueled recent VTOL research investments and advanced controls leading to innovative vehicle configurations spanning size, weight, power, and cost. Advancements in small propulsion systems, high capacity low weight batteries, fuel cells, materials, electronics, and low-cost additive manufacturing can now enable new architectures and designs to be explored in this trade space.

“ANCILLARY plans to use a multi-disciplinary approach that will bring together developments in advanced control theory, aerodynamic modelling, and advanced propulsion to solve a combination of challenging design objectives,” said Komadina. “The upcoming Proposers Day and Expo on September 20, 2022, will not only bring together traditional aircraft manufactures, but also non-traditional military contractors that have been investigating commercial VTOL solutions.”

7 thoughts on “DARPA Vertical Takeoff and Landing X-Plane”

  1. “All indications now would lead one to believe we are nearing the end of the age of aircraft carriers.”

    What else is going to carry a hundred drone jets? If they are VTOL then their thrust to weight ratio needs to be greater than one. If that’s no big deal then you can use the deck to stack more drones in cargo containers.

    The age of the aircraft carriers will end when we don’t need to land planes at sea. Thats all carriers are- runways at sea.

    • Runways at sea is what you’d call the old “escort carriers”. Or in modern times the little STOVL carriers like countries like Australia run.
      The big supercarriers the USA runs are more like an airbase at sea.
      Not just a flat area to take off and land, but workshops to repair and modify planes, stores, etc. All the equipment you need for a full air campaign.
      And THAT shows why you still need them. You can run a few VTO VL drones from any little frigate with a helipad. But if you want long term maintenance, repair, modification… you want the sort of infrastructure that lets you run hundreds of missions per airframe, rather than just a few, under war time conditions… well then you end up with something like a supercarrier.

      Admittedly, a supercarrier of 2050 might be smaller than today, just as a missile cruiser of today is much smaller than a WWII battleship, while packing a much more lethal combination of weapons.

  2. Le temps des énormes porte avions est Terminé Terminé ! Quelques Un s entétes avec leurs armadas ultra vulnérables ! Mais ! Celui de “nouveaux” “bateaux” chargés des “News drones” ” UCAVs Toutes Surfaces” sera le Règne! Sur les Océans et les Mers ! Prenez Dates!
    Merci a vous Tous Thank you !

  3. DARPA, cutting edge about a year behind the already being used new Army drone that takes off and lands vertically electrically, then flies with an internal combustion engine horizontally.
    I’m not sure what they hope to accomplish when they already have production models that accomplish what they are trying being made by multiple companies.

  4. Snazster, I agree. Unfortunately, a lot of lobbying goes into it, since they are pricey, everybody wants a piece of the pie. So that’s a hard thing to end. The new Ford Class carriers are very impressive, but they are not an efficient platform, and are far too big of a slow moving target. But I doubt the Navy will stop building new ones, until (unfortunately) one gets sunk by an enemy.

  5. Wooden ships (and iron men) had their day. The age of battleships lasted only around 50-70 years, depending on how you count it, and ended when the age of aircraft carriers displaced them during WW II. All indications now would lead one to believe we are nearing the end of the age of aircraft carriers. C’est la vie. Eighty to ninety years wasn’t a bad run. Time marches on and those that don’t adapt don’t get to march with it.

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