Highlights

  • American air force planning to acquire electric flying vehicles
  • Vertical take-off and landing aircraft may be used for various ops
  • eVTOLs might be cheaper, and easier to maintain than choppers

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The United States Air Force is reportedly planning to buy and deploy electric flying vehicles under the Agility Prime program. eVTOLs might replace helicopters for various operations.

Despite science fiction predictions, our four-wheelers have not yet been replaced by their flying cousins. But this technology has caught the attention of the US military.

According to reports in the Eurasian Times and DefenseNews, the United States Air Force is actively planning to buy and deploy electric flying vehicles. These would be inducted under the Agility Prime program.

Technically, such vehicles are called electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or eVTOLs. $3.6 million have reportedly been sought in the 2023 budget to buy 5 eVTOL aircraft. The US Air Force has reportedly engaged over a dozen companies for the aircraft.

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The US military has reportedly identified over 60 uses for flying vehicles. Some of the main ones include infiltration and exfiltration of special operations forces, rescuing downed personnel from enemy territory, quickly setting up bases in conflict zones, and transporting cargo and personnel.

Flying vehicles might end up playing an important role in conflict, especially in light of the Russia-Ukraine war. eVTOL aircraft might help the US military apply lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia is yet to control Ukrainian airspace despite having a larger air force. Ukraine is reportedly keeping its planes safe by moving them from one airbase to another.

eVTOLs would help protect overseas US airbases in a similar fashion. The flying vehicles would help in transportation from airbases which are under attack, or have been extensively damaged. eVTOLs would reportedly be cheaper, more fuel efficient, and easier to maintain than helicopters.

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Another reason behind America's push to gain an advantage in the flying vehicle arena is its growing competition with China. The Pentagon has already been blamed for allowing Beijing to gain control of the commercial drone market. Experts feel that the US military's encouragement of the eVTOL industry might help make the country the hub of the technology.

However, it remains to be seen whether the US Air Force's big plans can translate into reality. After all, flying car prototypes have been grabbing headlines for many years, but are yet to become commercially safe and viable.

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