The Skycar® 600 LAMV
The Skycar® 600 Light Aerial Multi-purpose Vehicle (LAMV) is an aircraft with the vertical take-off and landing capabilities of a helicopter and the maximum speed of a high performance aircraft and without the limitations of either. Using these capabilities the Skycar® 600 can shave critical minutes from a variety of missions where operational flexibility and speed are imperative. Forces using the LAMV would have unmatched speed and agility in positioning and repositioning from widely dispersed locations allowing them to achieve operational objectives quickly and decisively.
Moller International's low-cost, small unit VTOL aircraft incorporates many of the features of the V-22 Osprey, without the accompanying complexities. Like the V-22, the Skycar® combines a high cruise speed (~265 knots for the Skycar® 600) with the ability to land and take off vertically from "unimproved" landing areas. The VTOL payload of the Skycar® 600 (~1,250 lbs) allows up to six occupants or a combination of crew and cargo. Suggested configuration for Search and Rescue (SAR) or medical evacuation (Medevac) missions is a pilot and a medic with space for two injured. Should a short take off or landing (STOL) be possible a 200-foot rollout allows for net payloads of over 2,000 lbs.
The Skycar® 600's combined VTOL and airspeed capabilities provide extremely rapid response. SAR, medevac, drug interdiction, critical logistic supply deliveries, surveillance, or special personnel transport are examples where minutes saved mean the difference between mission success or failure, life or death, or thousands of dollars. For a more detailed discussion of the capabilities see "A Revolutionary Vehicle for the Future" by Colonel Larry Harman (USA-Ret), Director of the Combat Service Support Battle Laboratory at the Army Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia or "Winning an Asymmetric War with the Skycar®" by LTC James P Thomas, 304th SB, 3rd Expeditionary Force, Sustainment Command LNO, Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The Skycar® 600 is being developed by Moller International to meet guidelines suggested by representatives of the US military. Helicopters have traditionally offered the flexibility of VTOL applications allowing for ingress and egress into a limited space where fixed wing aircraft do not have access. The performance penalties for using helicopters as compared to fixed wing aircraft have been low speed, limited range and restricted operational ceiling. In aircraft like the Skycar® 600, vectored thrust allows the use of all the installed engine power when in conventional flight. The high thrust-to-weight ratio allows outstanding climb, accelerations and decelerations, and maneuver. For example, the Skycar® 600's projected maximum climb rate is more than a mile per minute.
Moreover, the Skycar® 600's engines have many of the beneficial characteristics of turbine-powered aircraft without the accompanying complexity and massive fuel consumption of the latter. For example, in cruise the Skycar® 600 burns only 1 pound of fuel per minute. The Skycar® 600's operational characteristics are predicted to provide a maximum speed of 395 mph, a range of 750 miles, and operational altitude of over 25,000 ft.
The Skycar® 600 could also meet the requirements of commercial high-value cargo delivery, air taxi, and emerging VTOL transportation service providers.
Simulated Reconnaissance Patrol
Below is a great animation made by Jesse Levin using the free Microsoft Flight Simulator Skycar® M400 plug-in. Like his "Flight to the Hamptons", this video features the Skycar® in action, but instead of New York you'll see the Skycar® in a simulated Middle Eastern town that has been set up at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which is a major training center for the United States Marine Corps.