Aurora Flight Sciences to Continue Design Liberty Lifter Experimental Heavy Cargo Seaplane | Aviation

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Aurora Flight Sciences’s (AFS) concept of the Liberty Lifter. Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences/DARPA.

If Aurora’s concept passes the Preliminary Design Review by 2025, it will be expected to float, fly and then demonstrate the Liberty Lifter by late-2027 or early 2028.

Following General Atomics’ exit from the Liberty Lifter program under the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Aurora Flight Sciences (AFS) will continue designing the experimental heavy cargo seaplane. This after General Atomics design for the aircraft could not meet the project’s vision to have a similar payload-carrying to the C-17 Globemaster III.

According to Defense News, the Pentagon last week announced that AFS, a subsidiary of Boeing, received an “$8.3 million modification to keep working on its mobility seaplane design.” In February 2023, DARPA announced selecting teams from General Atomics and AFS to develop the concept designs for the Liberty Lifter Seaplane Wing-in-Ground effect “full scale demonstrator.”

The General Atomics’ design proposed an unorthodox twin-hull for the Liberty Lifter, intended to make the aircraft more stable on water. The concept art showed the plane’s noses would have lifted up – like the C-5 Galaxy – to deploy the cargo and for vehicles to roll off on the…


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