Advanced Aircraft Company (AAC), a manufacturer of distributed electric propulsion tilt-wing and multi-rotor unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV), has secured a $1.25 million Direct-to-Phase II contract from AFWERX. This contract, focused on its Hybrid Advanced Multirotor Unmanned Aircraft System (HAMR), aims to address critical challenges within the Department of the Air Force (DAF).
The collaboration between AAC, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and AFWERX reflects a commitment to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process. This involves accelerating the small business experience by reducing proposal to award timelines and expanding opportunities for small businesses while eliminating bureaucratic overhead.
AAC’s HAMR is designed to support the USAF Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept of operations, focusing on operational strategies executed within defined threat timelines to enhance Airmen’s readiness for potential contingencies.
Paul Allen, CEO of AAC, expressed excitement about the contract, stating, “This Direct-to-Phase II contract takes us one step further to providing our warfighters with an efficient and rugged unmanned aircraft capable of conducting military support operations in austere environments.”
HAMR offers versatility for various defense applications and mission profiles, including long-endurance tactical ISR, perimeter security, search and rescue, and medical supply delivery missions. Serving as a force multiplier, it significantly enhances ISR capabilities relative to existing tactical ISR unmanned aircraft systems, contributing to the protection of warfighters.
The aircraft features a distributed electric propulsion system, an electronic fuel-injected and computer-controlled piston engine, and an integrated generator powering six independent brushless DC electric motors. With a flight endurance of up to 3.5 hours – six times longer than conventional battery-powered multirotor aircraft – HAMR bridges the gap between Group 1 and Group 2 UAS capabilities.
Key features include multiple redundant systems, remote in-flight engine starting, onboard batteries, IP65 rating for safe operation in challenging environments, and line replaceable units for rapid in-the-field servicing. The open modular architecture allows operators to reconfigure payload bays for specific application and mission requirements.
HAMR’s portability, quick launch capability, and ability to carry twelve pounds of payload make it a versatile asset for defense applications. The aircraft can be disassembled, stored in a single case, and easily transported in a conventional small civilian or military vehicle, showcasing its adaptability for various scenarios.