Horizon Aircraft produces high speed VTOL concept for US Air Force


Toronto, Canada-based Horizon Aircraft has successfully completed the first phase of a US Air Force competition to develop a concept for a high-speed vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

The US Air Force’s High-Speed VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) Challenge picked 11 companies from 200 entries to develop a high speed VTOL concept. The next phase of the competition will see the US Air Force select several concepts for full-scale prototyping.

The High-Speed VTOL Challenge is being run by the US Air Force’s innovation organisation AFWERX and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The program aims to develop an aircraft that could replace the Air Force’s CV-22 Osprey, that can fly on the order of 460mph (740km/h) and conduct a range of missions such as personnel infiltration and extraction, tactical mobility, and aeromedical evacuation.

The Phase 1 contract award included significant funding that helped Horizon has used to accelerate the development of their Cavorite X-series VTOL aircraft.

Horizon Aircraft, which was founded in 2008, is also developing the hybrid-electric Cavorite X5 to have an estimated top speed of 450 km/h (280mph) with a 500km (310 miles) range and a five passenger capacity. The Cavorite X5 uses a patented fan-in-wing technology that allows it to fly horizontally like a normal aircraft.

Brandon Robinson, CEO of Horizon Aircraft said, “We were honoured to partner with the elite AFWERX team that offered many valuable technical insights throughout Phase 1. We are looking forward to exploring the opportunity to deepen this partnership in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of this challenge.”

Horizon Aircraft said it plans to continue with its testing while progressing a detailed design of a full-scale VTOL aircraft that will have “significant commercial and military capability”.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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