Yup, The Army Is Working On A Hoverbike

The project now has a boring acronym, so it's official

Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle

Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle

Photo by Malloy Aeronautics, via U.S. Army

The U.S. Army definitely wants hoverbikes. Infantry are the core of any military--foot-slogging armed grunts ready to bring pain to whoever they may face. But they are, by their nature, constantly outmatched. Tanks have more armor and heavier guns, planes fly well beyond their reach, and even defending ground troops often get bunkers or fortifications to protect themselves. How do troops on the ground overcome that? One way is to put them in the air. On hoverbikes.

At the Paris Air Show earlier this month, hoverbike maker Malloy Aeronautics announced they'd partnered with American company Survice to prepare a working hoverbike for the U.S. Army. This isn't the first time the Army's experimented with hoverbikes, but it's been decades since a serious attempt, and improvements in multi-rotor technology mean hoverbikes may be more attainable now than ever before.

The U.S. Army is so serious about this they've given it a terrible name. They're calling it a "Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle," or TRV, which manages to take all the excitement of a Star Wars-esque flying military bike and grind it down into a chunk of stale Pentagonese. While the news broke recently, the Army Research Laboratory has been exploring the concept for almost nine months. Rather than referring to the idea as "freakin' flying soldiers," they're describing it "as a way to get Soldiers away from ground threats by giving them a 3-D capability."

Here’s how the Army says it will be used:

The TRV concept could unburden Soldiers while increasing their capabilities regardless of the environmental conditions, in manned and/or unmanned operations. Besides mitigating the dangers of ground threats, capabilities for the TRV concept could include aiding in communication, reconnaissance, and protection; sensing danger or even lightening the Soldiers' load.

“Hovering pack-mule” is a lot less flashy than “flying sky cavalry,” but still useful. Time will tell if this flying horse has legs.