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DARPA developing small vertical-takeoff aircraft for military use

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is seeking to develop a revolutionary new vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

The program is known as AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY X-Plane, or ANCILLARY. The ANCILLARY program aims to develop a “leap-ahead” craft that can land and take off in areas without preexisting air bases or other infrastructure, operate in adverse weather conditions, and even deploy from the decks of naval vessels without specialized launch and recovery equipment. DARPA has not stated if the program is intended to develop a crewed or uncrewed craft, but a video released by the agency depicts pilots operating the craft with a tablet, implying a remotely piloted or autonomous vehicle.

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