Defense Department Working On Hoverbikes: Video

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Fans of the Star Wars movies need no convincing of the virtues of a hoverbike, and it appears neither does the military. The Department of Defense is teaming up with Malloy Aeronautics to turn the British engineering firm’s hoverbike concept into a reality, with further development and eventual production to take place here in the U.S.

Right now Malloy has only built a one-third scale model but the final design is said to be capable of lifting a payload of at least 220 pounds. Of interest to those of us not in the military, Malloy says it also hopes to tap into the commercial and leisure markets.

The design calls for a sturdy yet light carbon fiber structure to which two drone-like bi-copter arrangements are attached, one at each end. Located in the center would be the controls and a battery pack to supply power to the electric motors.

The proponents of the technology claim the hoverbike could end up handling many of the tasks that currently require a helicopter, but the hoverbike would be much more flexible as well as cheaper to build and run.

“The Department of Defense is interested in Hoverbike technology because it can support multiple roles,” a project spokesman, Mark Butkiewicz, told Reuters at the recent Paris Air Show. "It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it's not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset. It can also operate as a surveillance platform.”

The news follows other recent developments in the world of hovercraft such as the commercial development of a Back To The Future Part II-style hoverboard and a new world record set for the furthest distance traveled on a hoverboard.

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