New, Low-Cost Air Force ISR Drone Prototype Flies 2.5 Days

WASHINGTON: While other commercial and military drones have flown longer, the two and a half day flight of the Air Force?s latest unmanned aircraft prototype this week does represent a kind of breakthrough for the US military: proving that commercial technology can be adapted to build affordable long-endurance and highly capable surveillance drones.

And the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio is convinced that the new, autonomous Ultra-Long Endurance Aircraft Platform (Ultra LEAP) will be able to stay in the sky for longer in future flight tests.


Shot Down? The USAF Now Wants To Air-Drop An Air Taxi To Fly You Out To Safety

In the midst of a future conflict, an American fighter jet is shot down while operating over hostile territory. The terrain is too complicated and risks are too great to send in a traditional combat search and rescue team, so U.S. commanders turn to a novel option: air-drop a small, ultra-quiet autonomous air vehicle with short or vertical take-off and landing capabilities near the crash site so the downed aviator can fly to safety.

Though it may sound like a scene straight out of a sci-fi war movie set in the near future, this is a concept the U.S. Air Force wants to actively explore. The Air Force Research Laboratory first posted the request for proposals for what they blandly described as a “Personnel Recovery / Transport Vehicle” on the U.S. military’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program website on May 2, 2019.


Air Force introduces hypersonic flight research vehicle

The Air Force has officially named the hypersonic flight research vehicle it is testing.

The vehicle, dubbed X-60A, is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc., under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory?s Aerospace Systems Directorate and High Speed Systems Division.

X-60A is an air-dropped liquid rocket, purpose-built for hypersonic flight research. This is the first Air Force Small Business Innovative Research program to receive an experimental ?X? designation, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base?s public affairs office announced in a press release Thursday.