The Air Force is seeking ideas from industry, academia and investors that one day would lead to a revolutionary change in vertical takeoff technology.
“Now is the perfect time to make Jetsons’ cars real,” Will Roper, the Assistant Air Force Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said in the keynote speech he delivered at the launch of Agility Prime, the service’s effort to foster greater efficiency within the acquisition process.
Roper provided more detail during testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in March. The Air Force, he said, wants to “operationalize commercial electric vertical takeoff and landing [eVTOL] vehicles for military missions, and accelerate the emerging commercial eVTOL market in the United States.”
In essence, the service wants to foster development of flying cars, Roper said, through a rapid-contracting mechanism that would deliver a finished product by sometime in 2023. Such a project would heavily leverage the automobile industry’s knowledge of hybrid and electric power, to provide “the potential for safe, affordable, sustainable, quiet and runway independent-air mobility,” the Air Force stated in a press release.