Introducing Valkyrie, the US Air Force's vertical take-off amphibious aircraft

Introducing Valkyrie, the US Air Force's vertical take-off amphibious aircraft

Introducing Valkyrie

USAF's AFWERX High-Speed ​​Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HSVTOL) Conceptual Challenge sees the military lead the way for a number of private companies looking for ideas that will ultimately lead to next-generation VTOL aircraft capable of going much faster of current VTOL machines such as the V-22 Osprey.

Valkyrie's Guardian hoverJet concept essentially appears to be a powerful, optionally piloted jet aircraft with an integrated electric VTOL system. The VTOL system appears to use a quadcopter layout, with four props (or perhaps eight coaxially mounted) hidden in holes in its wings. These make it take off vertically, but then a pair of Pratt & Whitney 545c turbofan engines take over, adding a combination of about 3719kg of horizontal thrust to the mix.

The result, Valkyrie says, is a speed of cruising speed of 547 km / h, a maximum transonic sprint speed of 1,127 km / h and a full 15 hours of endurance at altitudes up to 12,192 m. Measuring 7.3 x 9.1 x 1.8 m, it will weigh 1,905 kg empty. Add fuel, a pilot and / or up to 907kg of payload, and that little VTOL system will have to lift the Guardian to a maximum takeoff weight of 5,443kg.

This is considerably heavier than, say, the Joby S4, which is said to be around 4,000kg, and uses fewer smaller propellers. On the other hand, since it will run mainly on jet fuel, the accumulation of energy will not be a problem at all and the electrical systems can be tuned for high power rather than efficiency.

Credits: Valkyrie

The Guardian and its younger brother, the Eagle UAV, are apparently capable of landing on water and offering "three modes of operation: aircraft, hovercraft and amphibians". Exactly how hovercraft mode works is a bit of a mystery at the moment, but a VTOL aircraft capable of taking off and landing on almost any surface, so flirting with the sound barrier once in flight, would clearly be a very useful platform. .

"What makes the Eagle unique", says Valkyrie, "is the patented thrust vector control system, a proprietary technology that allows it to operate in almost any terrain and / or adverse conditions" . The company has not disclosed how much AFWERX is providing in its "market research investment," nor has it publicly unveiled any prototypes.

So it is unclear to what extent these aircraft have passed the concept stage, although Valkyrie says they are "a product of over 25 years of engineering, testing and refinement, encompassing seven generations of technological advancement." The funding will allow Valkyrie to continue developing the project over the next six months, working with USAF, USSOCOM and, the contractor who is coordinating the HSVTOL Concept Challenge.

“The HSVTOL Concept Challenge has uncovered an impressive range and caliber of solutions to help us understand how to build a new class of aircraft, ”said Dr. Reid Melville, Chief Innovation Officer, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Transformational Capabilities Office. >

Thor Star Tessa Thompson Opens Up About Valkyrie's LGBTQ+ Representation

Valkyrie could find her Queen in Thor: Love and Thunder.

It's already no secret to a lot of comic book film fans that Marvel Studios is championing diversity and representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Thor franchise introduced us to the first LGBTQ+ hero Valkyrie but despite her obvious presentation, the character's sexual orientation was never actually explored until the final moments of Avengers: Endgame where it was revealed that she would be the new 'king' of Asgard after being anointed by Thor himself.

Now, actress Tessa Thompson, who has been portraying the character since Thor: Ragnarok is ready to dive into Valkyrie's true nature and it could very well happen in Thor: Love and Thunder. Speaking with The Wrap, Tessa teased what's next for her MCU hero. Admittedly, Tessa and director Taika Waititi would have loved to tell more about Valkyrie's story in her previous outings but films like Ragnarok and Endgame just didn't call for the exploration of her LGBTQ+ roots.

She said: 'It's totally exciting. We talk so much about representation and obviously, in terms of the LGBTQIA community, there's still so much work to be done. But if you look at the comics in the canon, there are so many queer characters! It's hard because Taika and I would've even liked to go further, but in the context of the movies, there's only so much we can do.'

Thompson also teased that Love and Thunder could introduce Valkyrie's love interest. Now, if you've been an avid follower of the MCU stan community, there's been an ongoing campaign from the fandom to have Valkyrie romantically linked to Captain Marvel who is also rumored to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Also Read: Thor: Love and Thunder's Tessa Thompson Reveals Valkyrie's Weird New Powers

While I'm totally down with Love and Thunder serving as Valkyrie's 'coming out' party, I'm not quite sure if Taika will be able to successfully tell her story without it being sidetracked. As far as we know, the upcoming Thorquel is already stacked and it'll be interesting to see how the writers will incorporate the subplots in an already crowded project. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Marvel Studios' Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to hit cinemas on July 8, 2022.

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