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The Air Force is working on a ‘flying car’ to replace the V-22 Osprey — and it could take flight sooner than you think
'Agility Prime' sounds like a revolutionary new video streaming service, or a parkour-themed workout regimen, or Transformers-inspired niche porno venture.
But no, it's the name of the Air Force's nascent effort to replace the V-22 Osprey with a militarized flying car — and it's set to take off sooner than you think.
Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition Will Roper stated on Tuesday that the service intends to kick off the Agility Prime program this fall to "look into where commercial innovation is going in flying cars" for potential applications to Pentagon's high-speed vertical lift capabilities, Defense One reports.
Speaking at the Air Force Association's Air, Space & Cyber Conference at National Harbor in Maryland, Roper said that he has tasked a team at the Air Force Research Lab "to come back with an acquisition strategy that has a variety of different options to pursue — a competition, a challenge, I think, is a very compelling option."
As Defense One notes, this newfound push for a "flying car" grew out of a desire among U.S. special operations forces for a high-speed, semi-autonomous platform with "an ultra-low noise insertion signature to ferry warfighters through battlespaces too contested for conventional vertical-lift aircraft.
"We went back to [Air Force Special Operations Command] and said, 'We can also look more broadly at where commercial innovation is going in flying cars and see what's possible,'" Roper said of the program. "It may not be able to do the full mission of the Osprey but it has a lot of compelling options, especially in logistics."
The Air Force's fiscal year 2020 budget request included $25 million for Agility Prime to cover "high-speed vertical lift demonstration" as proof-of-concept for autonomous "non-runway jet operations in a contested environment" as part of its list of unfunded priorities.
The Senate's $738 billion version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, passed back in June and currently under negotiations in conference with the House, supports the service's $25 million request as "crucial to the Air Force's ability to develop a lethal, agile, and resilient force posture and employment."
Say it with me now: Full Metal Jetsons.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.