The MA hover-bike is built to do many of the same jobs as a helicopter.

Kiwi designer and Malloy Aeronautics managing director Chris Malloy has struck a deal with the US Department of Defence to develop and build a "hoverbike" in the United States.

UK-based aeronautical engineering firm Malloy Aeronautics has teamed up with defence firm SURVICE Engineering to develop the vehicle in Maryland as part of a research and development contract with the US Army Research Laboratory.

The hoverbike is being developed to operate as a new class of tactical reconnaissance vehicle.


Maryland-based SURVICE has been providing research and development support for the US Department of Defence for more than 30 years.

"The proximity to the Army Research Laboratory and US defence 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," Malloy said.

The hoverbike began its life as a Kickstarter project.

Malloy, which had already built and tested a one-third scale prototype drone, raised £64,089 ($147,000) in August 2014 to develop a full-size flying bike that could be ridden by a human.

The hoverbike is built to do many of the same jobs as a helicopter but is cheaper, more rugged and easier to use, according to Malloy, and can be flown safely at low altitudes.

SURVICE believes that the hoverbike, which can be flown unmanned or manned, could one day be used to transport military troops and supplies over difficult terrain, and could also operate as a surveillance platform.

The engineers claim the hoverbike's low cost and practical size also make it suitable for operations such as search and rescue missions, first-responder emergency services, and cargo insertion into confined spaces.

"We've been working with Malloy Aeronautics to develop a full-scale version of the scale model, and the next step is to do additional testing and then to design and construct prototypes that meet military requirements," Mark Butkiewicz from SURVICE told Reuters.

Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Boyd Rutherford, Lieutenant Governor for the state of Maryland, said that the hoverbike represents "a new frontier in aviation," and said the deal would bring many well-paid jobs to the area.

- additional reporting Telegraph Group