Futuristic hoverbikes for soldiers – don’t get too excited

Will hoverbikes soon be used as the US Army’s Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle? It might sound like something from a sci-fi Hollywood movie, but it was revealed recently that two companies are working on a hoverbike concept for the US Army.

hoverbike_imgp2614_largeDespite sounding like a complicated (and expensive) bit of kit that uses mysterious forces to levitate, the craft is actually a fairly simple design that utilises many existing technologies from the UAV sector.

The hoverbike is essentially a large quadcopter that can be flown either manned or unmanned. Pictures and video from manufacturer Malloy Aeronautics show a scale model of the hoverbike flying around with a small model human perched on top.

Control of the vehicle is achieved by deflecting thrusts from the propellers using ‘control vanes’ that are similar to rudders or ailerons on aircraft. The whole thing is powered by a 1170cc motorbike engine.

And it’s not just the military market that Malloy has its eye on. The company also sees a big opportunity for the craft in areas such as humanitarian and disaster relief, professional photography, and geographic surveying.

But back to the original question, will we see US soldiers buzzing around on a hoverbike anytime soon? If it shows promise it could receive more funding from the US military to advance its development further.

Let’s not get too excited though, the hoverbike is still going through testing and has not progressed past
tethered flight with a human. As with any research project, it’s an interesting exercise in the art of the possible, but could ultimately come to nothing.

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