The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected two teams to help in the first stage of development of a full-scale, wing-in-ground lifter seaplane demonstrator.
DARPA said Wednesday the team of General Atomics and Maritime Applied Physics Corp. and the group consisting of Aurora Flight Sciences, Gibbs & Cox and ReconCraft will join the agency and the Department of Defense in the development of the Liberty Lifter program.
Phase I will run for 18 months and is aimed at enhancing the Liberty X-Plane designs that the two teams previously developed, with a particular focus on meeting operational needs and operating concepts.
The first six months will be dedicated to conceptual design work, the following nine months will be for design maturation and preliminary design review and the remaining three months will cover manufacturing planning and test/demonstration planning reviews.
Detailed designing as well as full-scale manufacturing and demonstration will occur during Phase II, which is slated to commence mid-next year.
DARPA launched the program to create a seaplane that can operate less than 100 feet above the ground, sustain flight altitudes up to 10,000 feet mean sea level and transport large payloads at speeds faster than existing sea lift platforms.