Transforming Medevacs With a VTOL Drone

A rugged, autonomous flying car could be a cornerstone of future military medevac and delivery operations.

medevac, autonomous, UAV, transformer, vehicle, military, medicine, Multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) are quickly becoming in-demand items for the US military. With combat requirements that stress versatility, it’s no wonder that engineering firms both small and large are designing vehicles that can operate in a multitude of ways.

Fitting neatly into that adaptable mold is Advance Tactics’ AT Black Knight Transformer (BKT), an autonomous, VTOL vehicle that’s both aircraft and 4×4. Designed as a flexible platform for moving supplies and supporting Special Forces missions, the Black Knight can also act as an effective craft for evacuating wounded soldiers.

While helicopters have been the default for ferrying wounded soldiers from the frontlines to medical facilities, rough terrain and various other obstacles can prevent helicopters from making it to their destination. However, if a support craft could fly to a nearby waypoint, land, and then off-road to its destination, almost any location could be accessible for insertion and extraction exercises (a role the BKT is designed to fill).

According to Advanced Tactics, the Black Knight will be powered by turbo diesel engines capable of carrying up to 435 kg (1,000 lbs) across a 463 km (288 mi) range. Kept aloft by 8 rotors, four on each side of the craft, the MPV is capable of reaching speeds of 241 km/h (150 mph).

When on the ground the Knight will be able to up its load to 726 kg (1,600 lbs) and reach speeds of 110 km/h (70 mph).

Although the BTK’s road to service is still long, Advanced Tactics said the vehicle successfully completed its first driving test last month and flight tests are planned for next year. If the young company can prove their craft works, military and civilian operators might soon find Black Knight Transformers to be a very useful tool.


After a few more months of tinkering the Black Knight has finally completed its first flight. Here’s a video of the machine in action. 


Image Courtesy of Advanced Tactics