Look up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a flying Humvee!
In a case of truth being stranger than fiction, The Army Times has reported that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing a flying Humvee vehicle. Humvee is an acronym for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), a four wheel drive armored transport that is used to carry soldiers over difficult terrain. Humvees have largely supplanted the transportation role that had been traditionally filled by military jeeps and trucks.
Reports claim that a new type of aerial Humvee is being created. Called a "Transformer," the airborne transport vehicle would be piloted by regular soldiers who receive as much training as needed to operate an armored truck. As with current model Humvees, the Transformer would mostly operate on the ground but have the ability to take to the skies if it came under fire, or to avoid road side bombs and landmines.
Prototype In Development
While the idea of a flying Humvee sounds far fetched, The Army Times reports that the U.S. Marines and Air Force are seriously studying the concept and there are plans to have a prototype finished by 2015. Defense companies such as Textron Systems Corp. of Wilmington, Mass. have been commissioned to develop conceptual designs of the flying Humvee.
According to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, initial plans for the flying Humvee include the ability to carry four fully equipped combat soldiers and up to 1,000 pounds of weight. The aerial vehicle would also be able to travel as far as 250 miles on a single tank of gas. And, there are plans for the vehicle to be operated by a pilot or remotely using the latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology.
Multiple Uses In Combat
Military planners see several potential uses for the flying Humvee. The vehicle could not only avoid potential dangers on the ground such as landmines, it could also help with aerial evacuations of wounded soliders, resupply operations that are conducted in remote locations, and supplant marine insertions by allowing soldiers to fly over bodies of water and directly into a target site.
The flying Humvee is still in the conceptual stage and there is no guarantee the vehicle will become a reality. Several issues would need to be resolved before a Humvee were able to take to the skies. For example, the weight of the heavily armored vehicles would have to be dramatically reduced before they were able to lift off the ground and fly. Still, defense officials insist that the idea of a flying military car is not too strange and could become reality in the not too distant future.