May 2, 2014
French 'Flying Car' Undergoes Testing for Special Forces
More than 40 years later, French special operations forces seek to do something similar, this time using a combination hang glider-dune buggy under development.
A prototype flying dune buggy designed for the military is going through tests at an air base, said chairman of Vaylon, a start-up company that developed the vehicle.
The prototype is a light all-terrain vehicle that can take off and fly in powered flight and paraglide.
The need for a stealthy air transport was apparent in an attempted night rescue of a French secret service agent held hostage in Somalia in January 2013. Insurgents heard the French helicopters flying in and were armed and ready to thwart the mission.
France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office placed a December 2012 order to build the prototype, which was delivered in early December 2013.
Vaylon designers see the vehicle filling missions such as reconnaissance, hostage rescue, transport of equipment and air drop.
The company would supply the vehicle, leaving the special forces to decide what equipment to install.
One of the options would be to arm later versions of the vehicle with a bigger payload with weapons such as machine guns, 2.75mm rocket, or the light multi-role missile from Thales UK. That larger payload would be 200 to 300 kilograms.
The prototype carries two seats. The design allows taking out the passenger seat out to allow arms and equipment to be stored for the mission.
Vaylon hopes full-scale production in 2015.
Pegasus can take off in 50-100 meters, fly at a height of 3,000 meters and land under 10 meters.