The Black Knight Transformer drone is a truck with helicopter capabilities, and is meant to provide unmanned evacuation of wounded warriors.
The hybrid machine was spearheaded by Advanced Tactics, an El Segundo-based firm. The drone can traverse tough terrain, and when the going gets tough, the Black Knight can take to the air, Popular Science reports.
The eight rotors tuck closely to the frame of the vehicle when it is on land. Before lifting off, the rotors extend to provide better maneuverability.
Advanced Tactics was looking to fill the U.S. military’s need for a “Multi-Mission Medical and Casualty Evacuation Unmanned Air Vehicle/Unmanned Ground Vehicle.” While the Black Knight can be utilized as an evacuation platform, the Marine Corps thinks it would be useful for resupply missions as well.
“The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is interested in using the Black Knight vehicle for unmanned cargo supply missions,” says Advanced Tactics chief engineer Rustom Jehangir. “They’ve done work on this in the past with other platforms, such as the Lockheed Martin K-Max, but our platform will be much less expensive.”
Testing has already been completed on the driving portion of the vehicle, and aerial tests are projected to begin late February.
[ Popular Science ]