The Air Force’s new senior leadership team, in its first trip together, visited the service’s effort to create a “flying car” for both military and civilian use.
Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass on Aug. 20 visited the AFWERX “Agility Prime” program near Austin, Texas. As part of the visit at Camp Mabry, the chief executive officer of LIFT flew in the company’s “Hexa” multirotor electrical vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. The futuristic machine looks like a massive consumer drone, with a small cockpit.
“Agility Prime [is] designed to transform logistics and transportation, with flying cars that [were] very Jetsons-like, as we have had a chance to see and experience, the Agility Prime in action, lifting off and maneuvering, and the chance to see that and envision how that could change,” Barrett told reporters after the trip.
There are 15 companies partnering with Agility Prime, and “many of them” are on contract to produce their version of a flying car, Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director and Agility Prime lead, said in a release. AFWERX hopes to field a vehicle in 2023.
The Air Force, in its solicitation, calls for a vehicle that can carry three to eight people at speeds greater than 100 mph, at a range of more than 100 miles, and with an endurance of more than one hour. The program kicked off with a virtual event in April, and the service wants a full-scale flight by Dec. 17.