U.S. Air Force AFWERX Agility Prime Initiative Grants Mayman Aerospace $1.25M in Funding for development of Speeder Air Utility Vehicle, an ultra compact VTOL.
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby
Yesterday, world leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology Mayman Aerospace announced its acquisition of US$1.25 million in funding from the AFWERX Agility Prime initiative to aid in the further development of the Speeder AUV (Air Utility Vehicle).
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Agility Prime puts the U.S. Air Force in contact with companies creating VTOL platforms, and collaborates with them to establish new classes of air mobility systems. AFWERX’s funding demonstrates that the highly adaptable Speeder AUV is a decisive fit for air forces and related military branches.
Capable of moving 600lb+ of payload at 500mph, Speeder is uniquely suited to contested logistics missions, delivering essential materiel and support in active military theatres. Additionally, missions aimed at extending survivability that require a combination of speed, accuracy and immediacy can be supported by the AUV. Simple to operate in autonomous, remote, or piloted modes, Speeder flight operations can be easily handled in the field and the aircraft rapidly deployed to meet immediate mission needs. The platform is scalable – from as small as a suitcase to the size of a small car – transportable in a pick-up truck, and requires minimal field support, all of which makes it attractive to special forces operators.
“Speeder is a disruptive technology that is changing the way we think about small VTOL aircraft. It has incredible capabilities and is perfectly suited to complex, demanding and often dangerous DOD contested logistics missions,” said Mayman Aerospace CEO and Founder David Mayman. “We are honored that a U.S. Air Force agency recognizes our technology and understands the inherent value an AUV can bring to military forces. With the AFWERX funding we are even better positioned to deliver and certify Speeder for military requirements within the next eighteen months.”
With a minimal ground footprint compared to a helicopter, Speeder is also significantly more straightforward and affordable to obtain and operate. Speeder quickly transports heavy payloads over a significant range, and can be flown either under full control with vectored-engine thrust, or with quick-fit aerodynamic surfaces for longer missions. The turbine-powered AUV forgoes the restrictions imposed by battery technologies, and can be easily refueled from the field with Jet A-1, SAF or diesel. The combination of its small size, high-speed and low-altitude flight characteristics result in a difficult target for small arms, MANPADS and IADS, circumventing the vulnerabilities of rotary-wing and other transport assets. “We welcome Mayman Aerospace to the program,” said AFWERX Program Director, Lt. Col. Nathan P. Diller. “We are pleased to be supporting the development and testing of their aircraft and look forward to the results.”
Two Speeder prototypes have already completed initial tethered flight trials, with a third currently underway. This newest prototype, the P2, is able to be configured with four or eight engines and is expected to receive FAA Experimental certification to fly off-tether by the end of the year.
In anticipation of high demand due to significant military and special missions interest, Mayman Aerospace has started accepting letters of intent and pre-orders for Speeder. Mayman and his team collaborated alongside Matter Labs to win the direct to Phase II SBIR, (Small Business Innovation Research) grant.
Read more about AFWERX and Agility Prime projects:
- Hybrid Electric UAV from Advanced Aircraft Systems: HAMR UAVs Selected by AFWERX
- Drones on Military Bases: Easy Aerial Competes to Create the Air Force Base of the Future
- U.S. Air Force and Drone Racing League Partner to Celebrate 75th Anniversary and Accelerate Drone Pilot Skills
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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