- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The U.S. Army with its partners in the Marine Corps and U.K.-based Mallory Aeronautics have successfully tested a “hoverbike” prototype with a payload capacity of 300 pounds.

Military officials recently watched engineers put a prototype for the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle (JTARV) through a battery of tests at U.S. Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The consensus: Engineers are well on their way to producing a vehicle that can transport troops or supplies low to the ground or at thousands of feet in the air at 60 miles per hour.

“This project was successful because we went from a concept development to an engineering evaluation,” Ernesto Garcia Lopez, Innovation Program Manager of Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center in Picatinny, New Jersey, told the U.S. Army Research Laboratory on Jan. 13. “It was done in collaboration with various government agencies [and] industry in a very short time.”

Dr. William Roper, director of DOD Strategic Capabilities Office, speaking from the Aberdeen Proving Ground on Jan. 10, added that his “biggest fear” with projects like JTARV is “trying to figure out how to get people to see something that’s coming on the shelf, immediately identify the use, determine if it’s good enough for rock and roll, get it into the field, but in a way that allows us to keep one-upping it.”

Popular Mechanics noted Wednesday that the need for “one-up” capabilities in the field may be why officials are focusing more on JTARV as a supply drone instead of something akin to “speeder bikes” in “Star Wars” movies.

“Making a hoverbike that could support a rider is wildly difficult as DIY projects have proven. Besides, riderless supply drones are likely more useful to the military in the near-term,” the website reported.

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