AFRL Plans Industry Partnerships to Test Flying Vehicle Tech; Will Roper Quoted

Jeff Brody
Will Roper

The Air Force Research Laboratory will introduce a program for private firms to demonstrate prototypes of a flying vehicle in military airspace, reported Monday.

AFRL's Agility Prime initiative seeks to encourage developers interested in working with the government to test flying car platforms without having to go through regulatory procedures mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Loren Thompson, a senior defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, said the effort shows how the military branch is attempting to deploy industry approaches to  research and development programs.

"I've been challenging our acquisition community to think about where our defense market has value," said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics and 2019 Wash100 winner during an prior Air Force conference. 

NASA previously created a similar initiative with the intent to demonstrate air mobility systems in an urban environment. The space agency expects to commence field demonstrations via its Urban Air Mobility Grand Challenge in 2022.

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