California-based JetPack Aviation has announced the successful selection of its Speeder VTOL, by the highly competitive AFWERX High Speed VTOL (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge, launched in partnership with the US Air Force (USAF) and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). JetPack Aviation is one of just three OEMs included in the 35 successful challengers, which were selected from a total of 218 submissions. Initial presentations are being made to the AFWERX representatives this week to highlight the capabilities of the Speeder, and its potential applications for military operations.
Looking to satisfy mission profiles including the infiltration and exfiltration of Special Operations Forces (SOF), personnel recovery, aeromedical evacuation, and tactical mobility, at jet-type speeds, the HSVTOL Concept is ideally suited to the JetPack Aviation Speeder VTOL. Powered by small, gimballed turbojet engines, the Speeder promises to reach speeds approaching 300mph, with unprecedented payload capability currently available only from considerably larger helicopter airframes. The Speeder’s footprint is also considerably reduced since it has no rotors, ducted fans, or propellers which reduces/negates the need for specific ground infrastructure.
Launching the HSVTOL Concept Challenge on May 5, Reid Melville, Chief Innovation Officer, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Transformational Capabilities Office, said: “The USAF and USSOCOM are seeking ground-breaking ideas that will further strengthen operational effectiveness and efficiency in contested, resource-constrained, and runway-independent settings.” Those who progress through the challenge rounds may become eligible for funding associated with research, development, and testing, and subsequently procurement contracts to produce and field aircraft to the USAF.
“We are extremely proud to have been invited to participate in the AFWERX Challenge. It demonstrates that developing the Speeder concept to deliver immediate, multi-purpose applications is relevant to today’s military forces. Selection for AFWERX is notoriously difficult and we can’t wait to showcase the versatile, scalable, capabilities of the Speeder, and the huge benefits it can bring to military operations and engagement, fire-fighting support, emergency extraction and theatre of combat environments,” said David Mayman, CEO of JetPack Aviation.
Easily transportable in a car or motorcycle trailer, and immediately ready to fly, with no charging or other aviation infrastructure requirements, the Speeder offers high-speed forward flight with control and lift effected by aerodynamic surfaces as required, building on the aircraft’s ability to fly on engine thrust vectoring. The Speeder is modular, offering a variety of missionized payloads, optionally piloted and simple enough to operate and maintain under austere field conditions. The aircraft burns regular Jet A-1, kerosene, or diesel, but in a recent cooperative supply agreement with Prometheus Fuels Inc., JetPack Aviation has committed to using 100% zero net carbon fuel in all its own future operations.
JetPack Aviation has completed flight trials with the first full scale Speeder – P1 prototype. Flight test of P1.5, the second full scale prototype, is expected to begin later in Q3-Q4 2021. Aircraft P2, featuring a fully formed body, small, field-removable wings, and forward canards, should fly from Q1/2 2022. Thanks to its unique combination of heavy payload, speed, VTOL operation, simplicity and autonomous flight options, the Speeder offers unprecedented special missions capability, with longer term application to the urban air mobility market. Demand is expected to be high, and JetPack Aviation has already begun readying letters of intent for customers and taking pre-orders for the aircraft.
About The Speeder
Building on engine thrust vectoring and control technology pioneered and proven on the JetPack, JetPack Aviation’s Speeder is a multi-mission, jet-powered VTOL platform designed for demanding EMS, medevac, firefighting, humanitarian, and military missions. Its compact size enables transport in a car or motorcycle trailer, with preparations for flight taking just a few minutes. The Speeder is therefore always available and mission ready, even in conditions that would ground a helicopter.
Its unique engine configuration enables the Speeder to move heavy payloads within a reduced footprint compared to that of a helicopter of similar capacity. The Speeder has no rotor system, gearboxes, or complex transmission, and is therefore also cheaper and simpler to maintain than a rotary-wing platform. Its power and high speed, combined with optionally piloted operation, mean the Speeder is the ideal choice for the most hazardous operations, including firefighting and disaster relief.
Equipped with a variety of mission equipment, the Speeder is easily and rapidly deployable, simple enough for easy maintenance and support in the field, scalable, and set to create a new standard in emergency and special purpose aviation.
About JetPack Aviation
The engineering leader in small, turbine-powered personal VTOL aircraft, JetPack Aviation spent millions of R&D dollars between 2009 and 2015, designing, building, and testing a series of JetPack designs that led to the JB10. The world’s first FAA-approved jetpack, the JB10 will make its competition debut in World Championship Air Race Season 1 next year.
JetPack Aviation’s wider mission is to create a range of VTOL aircraft that will save lives and revolutionize complex special missions. Based on its Speeder design and capable of carrying heavy payloads, the aircraft are small, transportable, optionally piloted, and fast. They have no rotors or lift fans, reducing operational footprint and complexity, and while JetPack Aviation’s initial focus is on special missions, they have obvious longer-term application to the urban air mobility market. JetPack Aviation is already working with the US Department of Defense and the world’s largest EMS company.
From 2022, all of JetPack Aviation’s aircraft will operate using zero net carbon fuels supplied by Prometheus Fuels Inc.
A new era of personal and special missions air mobility is dawning, and JetPack Aviation is leading the way.