The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) intends to develop a next-generation military vertical take-off and landing VTOL demonstrator for the military. 

The project, called ANCILLARY and part of the X-Plane program, aims to apply innovation and technology from the commercial eVTOL sector to develop new architecture and design in the military sector “required for a leap ahead low-weight, high-payload, and long-endurance VTOL capabilities”.  

DARPA highlighted that its main goal is to build a military VTOL unmanned aircraft system that could launch without complex launch-and-recovery infrastructure, thus enabling its expeditionary deployments.  

The agency said it will develop the small-size VTOL system, which would allow many aircraft to be stored and operated from one ship creating a tactical beyond-line-of-site (BLOS) multi-intelligence sensor network capability, unlike the current large UAS systems. 

“The ability for the warfighter to deploy and retrieve such systems in challenging conditions without reliance on infrastructure would minimize personnel, costs, and vulnerability during sensitive operations,” said Steve Komadina, the DARPA program manager for ANCILLARY. 

The agency announced plans to host an expo for the ANCILLARY program on September 20, 2022, where proposals from the industry could be submitted.  

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