Star Wars style hoverbikes might be en route to the United States military after a couple of companies — U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics and U.S.-based SURVICE Engineering Co. — reportedly struck a deal with the U.S. Department of Defense.
The military wants to add the hoverbike, which offer functionality similar to helicopters, to their arsenal as a new class of “Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle.”
The first version of the hoverbike was built by Chris Malloy of New Zealand, the founder of Malloy Aeronautics, who formed the company after the U.S. military expressed interest in the design.
In order to fund the construction of a full-scale hoverbike prototype, the company launched what proved to be a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter back in 2014, which raised over $124,000 through the sale of 1/3-scale model hoverbike drones, CBC reported.
Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, along with Maryland-based defense firm SURVICE Engineering and U.K.-based aeronautical engineering firm Malloy Aeronautics, announced the strategic alliance which aims to research and develop a hoverbike for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. He was quoted in a press release as having said he’s “pleased to join with SURVICE Engineering and Malloy Aeronautics to announce their partnership on the Hoverbike, which represents a new frontier in aviation.”
I am pleased to join with SURVICE Engineering and Malloy Aeronautics to announce their partnership on the Hoverbike, which represents a new frontier in aviation (…) We are also very excited to welcome Malloy and look forward to working with them to grow their operations in Maryland.
As for what exactly the military wants the hoverbike for, SURVICE employee Mark Butkiewicz claims the defense department wants it the technology “because it can support multiple roles,” BBC reported.
It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it’s not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset.
A spokesman from Malloy Aeronautics was quoted by Fox News as having said that the technology is “well suited to a lot of non-military and commercial uses, such as emergency services, agricultural use, search and rescue and moving cargo around.”