The vehicles are having an incredible revolution in the last years, and those changes are not only concerning to the civil vehicles, but the military´s too. We are going to speak about a new VTOL vehicle that has been tested by the US Air Force that has been called LIFT Hexa 09, and has been tested at Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
It has been described as a rotorcraft. The vehicle has 18 electric motors, each powering a separate rotor. The form remembers to a tree in the style of a drone, with a rotor in each six arms and 12 rotors spaced evenly around the outer ring. So we can define it as an eVTOL. The many rotors are a big shift from the traditional one or two massive rotors of a traditional helicopter. The Hexa´s rotor diameter is much smaller than it used to be, for example a helicopter like the UH-60 Black Hawks flown by the military has a rotor diameter that’s nearly 54 feet, Hexa’s are 15 feet.
As LIFT has said “aims to accelerate and further develop Hexa for future public and military applications like emergency first response, personnel transport, base logistics, and search and rescue missions”. 413th FLTS Futures Flight commander Maj. Riley Livermore claimed “this is an opportunity to leverage some of the unit’s expertise with rotary aircraft and apply it to this new field of electric propulsion aircraft”.
Hexa has been in development since 2020, has gone through a series of flight tests as part of a Small Business Innovation Research contract between the USAF and LIFT Aircraft Co. At the moment, in the tests it has flown 50 feet in altitude and was airborne for about 10 minutes, but to use it on missions, flying machine will need to fly both higher and longer, so it is expected to be developed to use it on military operations.