The US military, ever one to want to keep ahead of the competition, is apparently doing so by trying to build a hoverbike. The US Army announced that it was attempting to do so last year, and as reported by Popular Mechanics, they’re still giving it a go. In fact, they have been working on this since the 1950s.
Named the Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle in 2015, their hypothetical one-man hoverbike was initially conceived to quickly bring supplies into the field. This year, it’s been renamed as the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle (JTARV), and from the images provided, it looks somewhat like an extremely low-flying drone – a quadcopter you can ride.
“Anywhere on the battlefield, soldiers can potentially get resupplied in less than 30 minutes,” Tim Vong of the US Army Research Laboratory said in a statement. “We're working with users in the joint community to look at this concept.”
At this point, it’s not clear how operational the JTARV is, or how far through its testing or even its construction phase it has got. Nevertheless, compared to some additional US military projects – including “vampire” drones that disappear in sunlight and human-computer neural interfaces – it seems highly likely that hoverbikes will become a staple US Army feature within the next decade or two.
The JTARV's concept model. Research, Development and Engineering Command via YouTube
After all, hoverboards of varying kinds already exist. One of them is even quite similarly designed to the Army’s concept hoverbike. It is piloted by leaning on it, as if it is an aerial Segway. Additionally, this stuntman-manufactured invention is capable of rising up to ludicrously dangerous heights, something JTARV may also be able to do if prior concept art is anything to go by.
As of 2015, scale models of the hoverbike – which is partly being designed by Malloy Aeronautics – was capable of some pretty cool maneuvers, but at this point, it’s more drone than human-driven bike of the future. Watch this space.
Concept testing. malloyhoverbike via YouTube
In any case, the question on everyone's minds by this point is whether or not the speederbike chase scene on the Forest Moon of Endor can be recreated in reality. At this point, it is not clear how possible this would be, although at least there wouldn’t be any pesky Ewoks getting in the way.