Aurora has been a pioneer in ducted-fan and hybrid-propulsion aircraft. Shown is the Excalibur UAV proof-of-concept developed for the U.S. Army between 2005 and 2010. Excalibur combined hybrid-electric propulsion in a design providing vertical takeoff and landing with high-speed horizontal flight.

Aurora wins DARPA VTOL X-Plane program contract

Aurora Flight Sciences has been awarded a Phase I contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) X-Plane program. Aurora’s innovative VTOL X-Plane, known as LightningStrike, is designed for efficient hover and high speed, meeting DARPA’s ambitious goals for performance and useful load capacity. LightningStrike leverages Aurora’s flight-proven VTOL technology and achieves high overall efficiency by tightly integrating propulsion into the air vehicle’s aerodynamic design. Aurora plans to design LightningStrike in Manassas, VA, and build it in Columbus, MS.

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