Ventura, California-based Mayman Aerospace received $1.25 million funding from the AFWERX Agility Prime initiative to continue development of the Speeder Air Utility Vehicle, AUV. The funding demonstrates that AFWERX, a Technology Directorate of the U.S Air Force Research Laboratory under which Agility Prime sits, considers Speeder a solution that can meet increasing military requirements for contested logistics support.
Agility Prime partners the U.S. Air Force with companies developing new-generation vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) platforms, working with them to field new classes of air mobility systems. The new funding highlights that the ultra-compact VTOL Speeder, which offers diverse configurations to support multiple mission requirements, is a critical fit for air forces and related military branches.
Capable of moving 600 lb+ of payload at 500mph, Speeder is 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. Able to operate in autonomous, remote, or piloted modes, Speeder flight operations can be 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.
Mayman Aerospace is a venture-backed company founded by David Mayman. “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. 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,” Mayman said.
The aircraft’s ground footprint is minimal compared to a helicopter. It is also significantly less complex, making it less expensive to procure and operate. Turbine-powered, Speeder is not restricted by the performance limitations of current and near-future battery technologies. It lifts heavy payloads at high speed over operationally useful range, with easy field refueling using Jet A-1, SAF, or diesel.
“We welcome Mayman Aerospace to the program, we are pleased to be supporting the development and testing of their aircraft and look forward to the results” said Lt. Col. Nathan P. Diller, Director of the AFWERX program.
Speeder may be flown under full control using vectored-engine thrust, or with quick-fit aerodynamic surfaces for extended range missions. Its compact size, high-speed and low-altitude flight characteristics make Speeder a challenging target for small arms, MANPADS, and IADS, avoiding the inherent vulnerabilities of rotary-wing and other transport assets.
Mayman Aerospace has already completed initial tethered flight trials with two Speeder prototypes. Trials with a third, the P2 prototype, are currently under way. P2 can be configured with four or eight engines and is anticipated to fly off-tether under FAA Experimental certification by the end of 2022, as it works to expand the performance envelope.
CEO/Founder David Mayman and his team worked closely with Matter Labs to win the direct to Phase II SBIR, (Small Business Innovation Research) grant.