Spirit AeroSystems is to work with US-based gyroplane company Skyworks Aeronautics on the development of its commercial and defense platforms in the UK and EU, including its Vertijet VTOL aircraft.
Spirit’s Northern Ireland and Scotland operations will work on detailed design activity to support Skyworks VertiJet – a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), high-speed gyrodyne.
The Vertijet has projected speeds of up to 400mph (644km/h) – two to three times faster than current operating helicopters – and a range of up to 1,000 miles (1600km).
Michael Ryan, Spirit’s vice president for European space and defence said, “We will be applying our engineering and technology leadership in advanced materials and ultra-light structures to explore the design, testing and integration of lightweight and aerodynamically efficient technologies in support of Skyworks’ aircraft platforms, such as its VertiJet VTOL program for military and commercial use.”
Chicago, USA-based Skyworks Aeronautics, which also has sites in the UK and Brazil was formerly called Groen Brothers Aviation and was founded in 1986. The company has focused on developing gyroplanes, for commercial and defense use.
The Vertijet design was originally developed for DARPA, but the project was terminated in 2008. The concept uses a rotor for hover, VTOL and low speed flight and two turbofan engines for cruise.