By Tim Ryan

Nestled within the innovative ecosystem of REaKTOR and the City of Hampton, Virginia, Advanced Aircraft Company (AAC) has once again demonstrated its prowess in the field of aerospace technology. The company has been selected by AFWERX for a significant Direct-to-Phase II contract, valued at $1.25 million, to develop further its Hybrid Advanced Multirotor Unmanned Aircraft System (HAMR) for the Department of the Air Force (DAF).

This latest achievement by AAC, a manufacturer of cutting-edge distributed electric propulsion tilt-wing and multi-rotor uncrewed aircraft vehicles (UAV), underscores the strategic importance of its location within REaKTOR, a technology innovation center in Hampton. REaKTOR’s supportive environment has fostered AAC’s innovative capabilities, providing a platform for the company to flourish and contribute significantly to the aerospace sector.

The Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX collaboration aims to revolutionize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) processes. This initiative streamlines the experience for small businesses like AAC, expediting proposal-to-award timelines and opening up new opportunities for technological advancements in defense. Since introducing the Open Topic SBIR/STTR program in 2018, AAC has leveraged these opportunities to enhance its technological offerings.

AAC’s HAMR UAV is designed to align with the United States Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept, a strategic approach combining proactive and reactive strategies to ensure readiness for various operational scenarios. The HAMR UAV’s development under this contract will enable AAC to provide a versatile, efficient, and reliable solution for military support operations, particularly in challenging and austere environments.

Paul Allen, CEO of AAC, expresses enthusiasm for the continued development and testing of HAMR with the support of the AFWERX program. This contract signifies a significant step forward in AAC’s mission to deliver advanced unmanned aircraft systems for defense and civil applications, reinforcing its commitment to supporting the national defense initiatives of the United States.

AAC’s HAMR UAV stands out with its distributed electric propulsion system, encompassing an electronic fuel-injected and computer-controlled piston engine. This system powers six independent brushless DC electric motors and a backup battery, enabling an impressive flight endurance of up to 3.5 hours. Safety features include multiple redundant systems and an IP65 rating, ensuring reliable operation even in challenging conditions.

The UAV’s dual payload bays offer flexibility for various defense applications, including long-endurance tactical ISR, security, search and rescue, and medical supply delivery missions. The open modular architecture of HAMR allows for easy reconfiguration of payload bays to meet specific mission requirements, making it a highly adaptable and future-proof solution.

Located in the City of Hampton and nurtured within the supportive environment of REaKTOR, AAC contributes to the advancement of UAV technology and reinforces the region’s reputation as a hub for technological innovation and defense readiness. This latest contract with AFWERX is a testament to AAC’s growing influence in the aerospace sector and its potential to shape the future of unmanned aerial systems nationally.