The US Air Force’s flying car

By  Fabienne Lang

Using flying cars and eVTOLs could drastically change the way the U.S. Air Force operates in the future.

They could immensely assist medevac situations, for instance, as they could act as flying ambulances by autonomously flying to a remote airfield, landing vertically so that an injured troop member could hop aboard, strap into its wearable technologies to monitor their condition, and fly off to a site where the person can be safely looked after.

That’s one of the visions that the U.S. Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements, Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, has for the future of the flying car, reported

Not only could the flying car save lives, but it could also do so while minimizing the Air Force’s carbon footprint, and while saving the Air Force carting heavy fuel around for its aircraft and cars. They could be used to transport VIPs or during National Guard missions for firefighting, people recovery, search and rescue, and aeromedical evacuation, said Hinote.

On top of that, it would enable people to be picked up from hard-to-reach sites, something that’s integral for the Air Force, not only because air fields and runways are targets for enemy fire, but also because sometimes troops are sent far and wide to remote areas. Typically helicopters have done the job in those areas, but again, they have relied on fuel. 

U.S. Air Force’s flying cars

Flying cars, also known as Organic Resupply Busses, or ORBs, by the Pentagon, in the military are a relatively new addition, and they’re still in their testing and trial stages.

Just last year in August, the Air Force unveiled its potential upcoming flying car, Hexa, developed by LIFT Aircraft. LIFT Aircraft and the Air Force partnered up to work on the Agility Prime initiative to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles. 

Hexa is what Lt. Gen. Hinote had in mind when he pictured the aforementioned autonomous medevac flying ambulance. 

Another military flying car in the picture is BETA Technologies’ ALIA aircraft, which the Air Force Research Lab’s AFWERX innovation program granted d its first airworthiness approval for human flight. BETA Technologies is also partnering with the Air Force in its Agility Prime initiative to develop a military flying car. 

It seems that a mixture of caring for the environment, its personnel, and innovation are at the heart of the U.S. Air Force’s flying car push.