Distributed electric fan propulsion is the focus of a $475,000 Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) study awarded to Boeing.
The Advanced Distributed Electric Propulsion Technology (ADEPT) study will refine and validate the configuration of a fixed-wing airlifter using distributed propulsion in the form of multiple electric fans.
"The study will also assess the high-lift performance provided by the ADEPT propulsion integrated with the wing", says DARPA, which has declined any interviews about the work.
The ADEPT study is being undertaken by DARPA's tactical technology office as part of its broad agency announcement 07-20. This includes the topics of long-endurance air platforms, expanded air operations in urban environments, rotorcraft endurance, counter-UAV capabilities and small ground robots.