AT Black Knight Transformer, the world's first SUV vertical takeoff and landing. There is no need to talk about the elegance of the design, but, as they say, "the first step is the hardest."
A small US aerospace company Advanced Tactics Inc opened the veil of secrecy regarding its aircraft, a transformer helicopter, an Octocopter, and announced the successful completion of ground tests of a full-scale technology demonstrator. These tests included driving over rough terrain (I myself do not believe that I am writing this about an aircraft). Oktokopter AT Black Knight (Black Knight) Transformer will be the world's first SUV vertical takeoff and landing (GDP, Vertical Take Off and Landing, VTOL). Just like the Israeli Airmule GDP, it should become an inexpensive and operational means of evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefield or for transporting cargo. It should be noted that he must carry out this mission autonomously, in unmanned mode. The patented transformer technology combines the capabilities of a helicopter, such as the ability to take off and land almost anywhere, with the capabilities of an off-road vehicle. The first demonstrator of the AT Black Knight Transformer technology completed a drive test in December of 2013 in Southern California, flight tests are scheduled for the beginning of 2014 in the year. Advanced Tactics began work on AT Black Knight Transformer in the 2010 year.
The AT Black Knight Transformer technology demonstrator (above) and the operational concept of a diesel-powered turbocharged transformer (below).
In 2012, Advanced Tactics began work on the AT Panther Transformer with a similar aircraft specifically designed for special purpose units. This inexpensive transformer is capable of transporting two fully armed fighters to places inaccessible to other traditional air or ground vehicles, can be transported in the cargo compartment of the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor and requires only minimal training for control.
Conceptual LA Panther (left) and large-scale technology demonstrator (right).
According to the developers, this device can be used to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield in the following mode. After receiving a request for evacuation, the device flies offline from the rear base to the front line or even for it, where two fighters are waiting for it. After landing on a suitable safe platform, the engines with blades automatically fold, and the vehicle goes into driving mode. The fighters load up and take control of the transformer as an ordinary SUV, drive it through narrow streets or rough terrain to the location of the wounded man. There he is promptly immersed in a transformer and connected to life support systems. After this, the device leaves the building zone and automatically takes off and automatically returns to the rear base along with the wounded and / or medical orderly. The use of a transformer, according to the creators, can significantly shorten the evacuation time, which is so critical for saving the lives of the wounded without at the same time putting the crew at risk or using ground transportation.
Transformers Black Knight and Panther use the proven technology, which is distinguished by the simplicity and reliability of the multicopter helicopters. For example, each of the eight engines can be replaced in the field by a brigade of two people, and the payload can range from life support systems for evacuating the wounded to cargo required for special operations. In addition, the modular case of the device can be replaced with a waterproof case for carrying out operations on the water. Just as in today's widely used miniature electric models, transformers use motors with direct connection of the drive to the rotors.
Demonstrator technology Black Knight Transformer in flight configuration.
Components and assemblies of the power plant, including engines and rotors, are cheap commercially available elements, and the apparatus itself is made of modular field replaceable components. As well as on the electric multicopter, the stabilization of the apparatus and its control are carried out with the help of differential thrust between oppositely located pairs of rotors.
The developers tried to create a simple, cheap and reliable design. Instead of a mechanically complex and expensive articulated rotor mechanism, which stabilizes and controls a conventional helicopter, they used a computerized control system with high-speed feedback. In addition, this configuration does not require a tail rotor or transmission. Transformer has the ability to fly in case of failure of one or more engines.
Demonstrator of the Black Knight Transformer technology during ground tests. The engines are laid along the sides to reduce the width of the device.
In addition, the design features provide a relatively large internal volume compared to conventional helicopters. It is comparable to the Blackhawk helicopter. This allows the use of transformers in rescue operations and as unmanned cargo suppliers also in the civilian area. The Black Knight and Panther transformers are equipped with a car suspension system similar to those used in off-road vehicles. According to the developers, large tires and shock absorbers provide excellent handling on rough terrain, as well as a soft landing when landing. The wheels are driven by an independent engine and gearbox and allow you to reach speeds in 112 km / h.
Four-engine technology demonstrator during the flight in the 2012 year. Equipped with gasoline engines and weighs more than 900 kg.
The Black Knight and Panther aircraft were developed on the basis of smaller prototypes, starting with miniature electric prototypes and ending with larger demonstrators equipped with internal combustion engines. The first electrical prototypes were created in the 2010 year, the 2012-kilogram petrol prototype was created in the 900. The large-scale prototype of the Panther was successfully tested, and its full-scale version is currently in an early stage of development.
Advanced Tactics Inc engineer Rustom Jehangir stands next to the machine for display in scale. His height is 182, see
The Black Knight Transformer is equipped with advanced turbodiesel engines capable of transporting more than 450 kg or five passengers over a range with a range of 460 km. In a configuration without off-road capabilities, a transforming helicopter can carry up to 720 kg of payload or up to eight passengers. The cruising speed of the vehicle will be 240 km / h, and over land to 112 km / h.
Operational design concept for the Black Knight Transformer with streamlined aerodynamics and more powerful and efficient turbo diesel engines.
After making its first flight, the AT Black Knight Transformer technology demonstrator will undergo an intensive test program, which will end with a demonstration of the full capabilities at the end of 2014. Currently, Advanced Tactics is looking for cooperation to introduce this and other patented technologies into mass production.
Technical characteristics of the prototype demonstrator:
Length (in flight configuration): 9,5 m.
Width (in flight configuration): 5,8 m.
Height: 2,5 m.
Length (in traveling position): 7,6 m.
Width (in traveling position): 2,6 m.
Gross weight: 1995 kg.
Ceiling: 3050 m.
Speed on land: 112 km / h.