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From AK-47 to Flying Car!

Kala

By Debbie Gregory.

Kalashnikov Concern is the largest arms manufacturer in Russia, and produces a wide range civilian and military weapons, including the AK-47 assault rifle, which became a staple of fighting forces around the world.

Kalashnikov Concern has also channeled its ingenuity to unusual military-grade technology, which now includes a flying car!

The slender metal vehicle, which is more like a hovercycle than a car, bears a close resemblance to the speeder bikes from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It also resembles the Kitty Hawk Flyer, a prototype hovercraft funded by Google co-founder Larry Page.

As seen in a promotional video released last month, the unnamed vehicle is fully electric, powered by batteries located underneath the driver, which are linked to sixteen rotors. The car is controlled using two joysticks situated in front of the driving seat.

The vehicle is still in very early stages of development, with a rough and exposed appearance, although the video also appears to show the design plans that are in place for the hovering car.

Obviously, the prototype is far from battle-ready, lacking both armor and weaponry, which will necessitate design tweaks to accommodate for the additional weight.

The U.S. military has been working on its own hoverbike with Malloy Aeronautics, which they showed off in a successful flight demo earlier this year. The Malloy Hoverbike is a single seater turbo-fan powered quadrocopter developed in 2006 by Chris Malloy, and has been contracted by an American engineering firm to produce such bikes for the United States Department of Defense.

Either way, it seems possible we’ll see the first few of these skeletal hovercycles skimming above land in the near future.

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It’s Not a Bird or a Plane; It’s a Hoverbike!: Military Connection

hoverbike

By Debbie Gregory.

Can you imagine soldiers flying on “hoverbikes” over treacherous terrain while you and I glide around our backyards on one? That may be a reality in the next few years. Currently, the U.S. Army is working on a futuristic hoverbike that could carry one to two soldiers up to ten feet off the ground at speeds of around 60 miles per hour.

The hoverbike is a variation on a quadcopter, and is being developed by engineers in the U.S. at SURVICE Engineering in conjunction with Malloy Aeronautics in the United Kingdom.

The hoverbike was first developed by Chris Malloy in his garage in Australia. Malloy teamed with SURVICE due to its experience dealing with the Department of Defense, and for its proximity to U.S. military facilities.

The Malloy and SURVICE engineers believe they can create a workable model in three to five years, with a commercial version for civilian use also is in the works.

Timothy Vong, a project coordinator with the Army Research Laboratory, said that the military wants the companies to develop the hoverbike with both manned and unmanned capabilities, and would help fine-tune it once a prototype was delivered.

The commercial version of the hoverbike, able to carry about 250 pounds, is projected to cost around $80,000, and will be produced before the military variant. The Army would prefer that the bike have the ability to carry between 400 to 800 pounds, allowing soldiers to pack their weapons and equipment on board.

The hoverbike has sparked some skepticism over its developers’ claims. To be useful for the military, it would have to meet a need that couldn’t be filled by a helicopter, all-terrain or other type of vehicle.

Malloy began developing the first hoverbike while taking classes to get his helicopter pilot’s license in 2009. On his own time and with about $60,000 of his own money, Malloy assembled the first version.

Vong said that the Army is interested in technology that would keep soldiers away from ground threats, and the hoverbike is one of many potential solutions the Army is exploring.

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It’s Not a Bird or a Plane; It’s a Hoverbike!: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory