COATESVILLE, Pa., August 8, 2023 (Newswire.com) - Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC), a global leader in advanced Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft development, announced today that it has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through its The AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY (ANCILLARY) program to produce initial operational and demonstration system conceptual designs for a VTOL uncrewed aerial system (UAS) that can be deployed and retrieved without the large mechanical launchers and landing/recovery equipment used today. PiAC was one of nine companies selected from a pool of 64 to proceed with a six-month Phase Ia design with Navy and Marine missions in mind. The project is expected to culminate with X-plane flight tests in early 2026.
ANCILLARY ultimately plans to flight demonstrate innovative aircraft configurations and critical technologies needed for a low-weight, large-payload, long-endurance VTOL uncrewed X-plane, including the ability to launch and recover from ship flight decks and small austere land locations in adverse weather without additional infrastructure equipment, thus enabling expeditionary deployments. Unlike large VTOL systems, the small UAS size would allow many aircraft to be stored and operated from one ship, creating a tactical beyond-line-of-site (BLOS) multi-intelligence sensor network capability. ANCILLARY aims to solve a combination of challenging design objectives by bringing together technology developments in advanced VTOL aircraft configurations, advanced propulsion architectures, and advanced control effectors/theory from traditional and non-traditional industry companies.
"As the United States' global security posture shifts to the Indo-Pacific, new VTOL UAS capabilities are needed to support maritime and expeditionary operations with 24/7 persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting (ISR/T) capabilities for U.S. Navy surface combatants and forward-deployed Marines. Piasecki has an 80-year history of bringing revolutionary VTOL concepts to market, and we are thrilled to have been selected by DARPA ANCILLARY to apply our expertise to address this challenging problem," said John Piasecki, CEO of PiAC.
PiAC recently announced that it acquired the former Lockheed Martin Sikorsky Heliplex facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and will transform the 219,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility into an advanced R&D and testing center for VTOL vehicles and UAS. The facility — which includes engineering development, aircraft assembly, paint and finishing facilities, and a well-equipped production flight test and delivery center — is expected to employ about 400 workers by 2028.
About Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC)
PiAC is an award-winning developer of vertical lift aircraft. It specializes in the design, fabrication, and flight testing of experimental rotorcraft and unmanned air vehicles and has developed and flown more than 25 advanced VTOL and UAV aircraft to date. Customers include the U.S. Air Force Research Lab and AFWERX; the U.S. Army Futures Command Aviation and Missile Center and Medical R&D Command; NAVAIR; DARPA; and SOCOM; as well as leading OEMs such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Piasecki is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential National Medal of Technology, Smithsonian Air & Space Achievement Award, and the prestigious Tibbitts Award for small business innovation from the U.S. Department of Defense. PiAC has been a proud member of the Vertical Flight Society for more than 50 years. For more information, please visit piasecki.com.Contact Information:
Original Source: Piasecki Aircraft Selected by DARPA ANCILLARY Program to Develop Initial Concept for VTOL X-Plane