The Air Force is working on a ‘flying car’ to replace the V-22 Osprey — and it could take flight sooner than you think

Military Tech
NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute. (Associated Press/Koji Sasahara

'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.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles McGee (center), a decorated veteran of three wars, receives a congratulatory a send off after visiting with 436 Aerial Port Squadron personnel at Dover Air Force Base to help celebrate his 100th birthday in Dover, Delaware, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (Associated Press/David Tulis)

Retired Col. Charles McGee stepped out of the small commercial jet and flashed a smile.

Then a thumbs-up.

McGee had returned on a round-trip flight Friday morning from Dover Air Force Base, where he served as co-pilot on one of two flights done especially for his birthday.

By the way he disembarked from the plane, it was hard to tell that McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, was turning 100.

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(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephane Belcher)

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.

On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.

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Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.

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( DSG Technologies photo)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A new weapon being tested by the U.S. military could give special operators a more lethal edge by allowing them to shoot underwater, according to Defense One.

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Sailors from USS George Washington (CVN 73) wear-test the I-Boot 5 at Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo by Courtney Williams)

Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.

"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."

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