June 27, 2015 – The first time we saw speederbikes zipping through the forests of Endor in Return of the Jedi, the year was 1983. The Internet, cell phones/mobile phones, and personal computers were still in their infancy. And speederbikes? That was just unicorn magic and technology too removed from the 1980’s.
Thirty-two years later, a U.K. and a U.S. company are teaming up to make Star Wars-like speederbikes a reality – or at least the first stabile version of it.
Malloy Aeronautics, a U.K.-based aeronautical engineering firm, is constructing and testing a hoverbike for manned and unmanned usage. The U.S. Department of Defense has contracted with the British company as well as SURVICE Engineering Co., headquartered in Belcamp, Maryland, to develop prototypes. The hovercraft could be used in various capacities, including troop transport over difficult terrain, unmanned delivery of supplies, and as a surveillance platform.
Both companies are constructing and testing prototypes at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, which is a relatively short drive (or hover-ride) to Washington, D.C. The research and development contract is with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The goal is to develop a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV’s).
While the first working deliveries are several years away, future end-users could include private and commercial users as well.