DARPA has launched a project to develop a scalable, runway-independent X-plane for Special Operations Command with $75 million in funding for the risk reduction and air certification approval phase.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT) X-plane demonstration project to create a next-generation air mobility platform for Special Operations Command. The Tactical Technology Office of DARPA is seeking proposals to design, build, certify, and fly an X-plane that demonstrates speed and runway independence. The aircraft should be scalable, carry a payload of 5,000 pounds, and have a cargo bay capable of carrying a small vehicle or two and a half pallets. The aircraft should also be capable of generating and distributing power in all modes of flight and during transitions between them, with an endurance of 1.5 hours and 200 nautical miles. Runway independence is defined as the ability to operate and hover near unprepared surfaces. The project will be completed in three phases, with a total funding of $75 million for the second phase.