DARPA has successfully tested new drones31. Januar 2020
DARPA has successfully tested new drones
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has carried out the first test of a new type of drone that can be launched from an aircraft in a swarm and recovered in the air once the work is done.
The procedure is as follows: a military transport or bomber aircraft drops a series of drones in rapid succession, they perform their assigned tasks (e.g. surveillance), then return to the aircraft, dock on a line and are then recovered with a winch.
A test conducted in Utah in November, but only reported on this week, showed that a military transport aircraft can successfully launch and monitor the drone, known as the X-61A “Gremlin”. However, after a successful launch in the air and a flight of one hour and 41 minutes, the drone crashed when “mechanical problems” prevented its parachute from deploying, the company behind the drone, Dynetics, said in a press release. Here is a video of the test (it contains bad music, be warned.) This spring DARPA will attempt to fly and recover four of the drones for the first time.
What is the purpose? The system could give the drones a greater range than if they were launched from an air force base and reduce costs because they are reusable. The company has been working on this concept for several years and is testing a similar system, but with a large swarm of micro-UAVs in 2017.