Reno-based Valkyrie Systems Aerospace obtained a research grant from the US Air Force to develop its renowned HoverJey Guardian Concept. It amalgams high-speed jet and electric VTOL with hovercraft and amphibious proficiencies.
The HoverJet Guardian concept appears to be an efficient, optionally-piloted jet aircraft embedded with an electric VTOL system. The VTOL system seems to apply a quadcopter layout, with four props cloaking in holes in its thick wings. They get it off the ground in a civilized manner, but a pair of Pratt & Whitney 545c turbofan engines take over, which adds integrated 8,200 pounds of horizontal thrust to the mix.
Valkyrie claims that the result is a transonic top sprint speed of 700 mph (1,127 km/h), cruise speed of 340 mph (547km/h), and a good 15 hours of endurance at altitudes up to 40,000 feet. It is a massive object. It measures about 24*30*6 ft (7.3 * 9.1 * 1.8m). It will weigh about 4,200 lb (1,905 kg) empty. A pilot, add fuel, up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of cargo, and the small VTOL system will have to raise the Guardian at a maximum takeoff weight of 12,000 lb (5,443 kg).
It is significantly heavier than the Joby S4, which is around 8,820 lb. It uses smaller and lesser propellers. Therefore, these propellers will have to work harder. Furthermore, it runs on jet fuel; therefore, energy storage would not be an issue, and the electric systems can attain higher efficiency.
Valkyrie says that the patented thrust vector control system and the proprietary technology, which allows it to work efficiently in any adverse situation, make the Eagle unique.
The company has not yet announced how much AFWERX is funding in its “market research investment,” nor has it disclosed any prototypes. Therefore, it is yet not understood how far these aircraft have made it past its concept stage, even though Valkyrie affirms that they’re a product of more than 25 years of engineering, refinement, and testing.
The funding will allow Valkyrie to continue innovating and developing the concept over the six months, working with USSOCOM, USAF, and Collaboration.ai, the contractor coordinating the HSVTOL concept challenge.