Australian inventor Chris Malloy’s idea for a flying motorcycle similar to the speeder bikes in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi may become a reality, courtesy of the U.S. Army.
On Jan. 10, Defense Department officials watched a demonstration of the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle, or JTARV. Based on Malloy’s original design, the electric-powered quadcopter prototype can carry 300 pounds. But Army researchers envision a hybrid-powered version with a payload capacity of 800 pounds able to fly up to 60 mph.
“Anywhere on the battlefield, soldiers can potentially get resupplied in less than 30 minutes,” said Tim Vong, associate chief of the Army Research Laboratory’s Protection Division.
Although the JTARV is designed to be an autonomous resupply vehicle with no pilot, engineers still affectionately refer to it as the “Hoverbike.”