Fleets of NZ-designed hoverbikes could transport US military within five years

US troops may soon have access to high-speed, all terrain flying 'bikes' as the US military starts development of its New Zealand-designed hover-bike technology.

Malloy Aeronautics, a UK-based company founded by Kiwi designer Chris Malloy, will work with U.S. defence contractor SURVICE out of its new Aberdeen, Maryland offices, to create a new class of tactical reconnaissance vehicle, with procurement availability estimated for within three to five years.

“Establishing an office in Maryland was a clear business decision,” said Chris Malloy, managing director of Malloy Aeronautics. 

“The proximity to the Army Research Laboratory and U.S. defense decision makers, access to the world-class facilities through the laboratory’s Open Campus initiative, and the co-location with our strategic business partner, SURVICE Engineering, were all factors in favour of Maryland as the best choice for Malloy Aeronautics.”

Image: Malloy Aeronautics founder, Chris Malloy. 

Malloy first created the Hoverbike from carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminium after hours in his garage in the suburbs of Sydney. With help from Kickstarter, he raised £64,000 from 451 backers in 2014, and was soon garnering attention from universities, farmers, search and rescue operations and the military.

The Hoverbike can be flown either manned or unmanned, and can reach heights of up to 9000 feet. Individual units are projected to cost around NZ$80,000.

“There are a lot of advantages of the Hoverbike over a regular helicopter,” Grant Stapleton, Malloy’s marketing sales director, told Reuters. “Primarily there’s safety”. 

“With adducted rotors you immediately not only protect people and property if you were to bump into them, but if you ever were to bump into somebody or property it’s going to bring the aircraft out of the air.”