STRATFORD, Conn., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The preliminary design for an experimental vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for the U.S. military is to be produced by Sikorsky Innovations.
The Phase 1 contract was issued to the Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and is worth $15 million. Period of performance length is 22 months
"Sikorsky has a solid legacy of developing game-changing advances, and the DARPA X-Plane program is exactly the kind of project that Sikorsky Innovations was created to execute," said Chris VanBuiten, vice president of Sikorsky Innovations.
"We are an agile, networked team dedicated to demonstrating innovative solutions to the toughest challenges in vertical flight. This program explores a generation of innovation that has yet to be introduced, and we have the opportunity to develop our novel design of the X-Plane concept with our partner at [Lockheed Martin] Skunk Works. It is an exciting project, and we are thrilled to be among the contract winners."
Sikorsky Innovations and Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works will develop the aircraft's Unmanned Rotor Blown Wing concept, in which fixed wing aerodynamics and advanced rotor control are integrated to provide a low-complexity configuration.
DARPA aims for an aircraft eventually developed to have a hover efficiency of 75 percent or more and a cruise lift-to-drag ratio of 10 or more.