The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) has revealed plans to progress efforts to build a new kind of plane. If they are successful, this unusual aircraft will notably rival the lift capabilities of the Air Force’s Globemaster, but at half the price. Furthermore, DARPA’s new machine will not be restricted by traditional runway limitations.
Apparently, this strategy aims to succeed where the Soviet Union failed with a similar project.
According to DARPA, the new seaplane will manipulate physics in a way that will serve as a “long-range, low-cost X-place capable of seaborne strategic and tactical lift.” The Pentagon’s premier research group has dubbed this seaplane the “Liberty Lifter” and DARPA program overseer Alexander Walan reports that the agency has chosen to proceed on production after receiving enthusiastic support across the industry last summer.
In a recent interview, Walan said, “The biggest thing I took away [from the industry support] is that US industry was ready to do this. They had some innovative ideas; they were excited about it, and there was an industrial base out there that we could tap into.”
These innovative—and early—ideas include a dual-hulled concept but they expect to receive more proposals from industry professionals this week. The hope, of course, is to receive varying prototypical designs from which to work in time to satisfy the contracts currently available, at some point in the summer.
And once that commences, DARPA hopes to be able to build a prototype and get it in the air within the next five years.