Advanced Tactics' Black Knight Transformer VTOL Multicopter Makes First Test Flight

Combining the versatility of a pizza-delivering drone with the payload capacity of a small army truck, the Black Knight Transformer from Advanced Tactics Inc. could someday transform battlefields in ways heretofore only imagined by science fiction writers.

Video of the test flight has just been released following approval by the relevant government authorities and if the initial flight is any indication, front line troops have got a lot to look forward to! Check out the official test flight video here.

The Black Knight Transformer incorporates patented technology which, according to Advanced Tactics, endow the innovative vehicle with the ability to take off and land anywhere. Since the need to quickly adapt to changing situations require the utmost in flexibility, AT designed the Black Knight Transformer with a modular payload system that allows different types of cargo to be sent to and from forward positions.

The vehicle's drivetrain is modular as well. The standard ground drivetrain can be detached on the fly, so to speak, and replaced by an amphibious boat hull, a cargo pod or an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) pod... all with a minimum of effort, time and trouble.

The test flight took place on March 22nd of 2014 at a private location in the southern California desert although a remote backup pilot was present to ensure safety, the vehicle's stability and attitude while airborne was controlled entirely via  the onboard autopilot. The Black Knight Transformer does not normally sport outrigger landing gear; they were a temporary safety features used to prevent rollovers though none occurred during the test.

According to Advanced Tactics, the test was an unqualified success with the Black Knight Transformer completing multiple short hover flights limited to under 10 feet of altitude. In real-world use, the vehicle's 8 engines and rotors (no tail rotor is necessary) are capable of directed flights and/or sustained hovering several thousand feet in the air. Advanced versions currently in the planning stages will be able to hover for over 19 hours with a 150-lb ISR payload. Exciting news... unless you're name is Sarah Connor. (via Gizmag and Defense Update)