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DARPA Awards Phase 2 Gremlins Program Contracts
DARPA recently completed Phase 1 of its Gremlins program, which envisions volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UASs)—or “gremlins”—that could be launched and later retrieved in mid-air. Taking the program to its next stage, the Agency has now awarded Phase 2 contracts to two teams, one led by Dynetics, Inc. (Huntsville, Ala.) and the other by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.).
“The Phase 1 program showed the feasibility of airborne UAS launch and recovery systems that would require minimal modification to the host aircraft,” said Scott Wierzbanowski, DARPA program manager. “We’re aiming in Phase 2 to mature two system concepts to enable ‘aircraft carriers in the sky’ using air-recoverable UASs that could carry various payloads—advances that would greatly extend the range, flexibility, and affordability of UAS operations for the U.S. military.”
Gremlins Phase 2 research seeks to complete preliminary designs for full-scale technology demonstration systems, as well as develop and perform risk-reduction tests of individual system components. Phase 3 goals include developing one full-scale technology demonstration system and conducting flight demonstrations involving airborne launch and recovery of multiple gremlins. Flight tests are currently scheduled for the 2019 timeframe.
Named for the imaginary, mischievous imps that became the good luck charms of many British pilots during World War II, the program envisions launching groups of UASs from multiple types of military aircraft—including bombers, transport, fighters, and small, unmanned fixed-wing platforms—while out of range of adversary defenses. When the gremlins complete their mission, a C-130 transport aircraft would retrieve them in the air and carry them home, where ground crews would prepare them for their next use within 24 hours.
The gremlins’ expected lifetime of about 20 uses could provide significant cost advantages over expendable unmanned systems by reducing payload and airframe costs and by having lower mission and maintenance costs than conventional manned platforms.
Region: USA and Canada
2017-03-23Drone World Expo 2017 – Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for Drone World Expo 2017. From October 3-4, the 3rd annual Drone World Expo will once again gather thousands of thought leaders, end-users and decision makers in the commercial drone industry at the San Jose Convention Center.
2017-03-20Amazon Patents Drones with Telescoping Landing Legs
A diagram shows how an Amazon drone could land on a sloping surface while keeping its main frame level, thanks to telescoping landing legs. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)
2017-03-17US Air Force Buys Drone-Snagging Shotgun Shells
US Air Force security forces, as well as other military personnel and federal law enforcement agencies, may soon be getting a new tool to take down small commercial drones: shotgun shells with a net. The special cartridge is just one system the Pentagon has been looking at to manage the growing threat from small and readily available quad-and hex-copter-type unmanned aircraft.
2017-03-15US Deploys Gray Eagle Systems to South Korea
The U.S. military is deploying a new Gray Eagle attack drone system in South Korea as it moves to bolster capabilities against a growing threat from the North.
2017-03-14USAF Tests Drone for C-17 Post-Flight Inspection
The 412th Test Wing’s Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force used a quadcopter to conduct a maintenance inspection of the exterior of a C-17 Globemaster III here March 6, 2017.
2017-03-10New York Power Authority Tests Drone Inspections
A team from the New York Power Authority joined some Ontario Power Generation representatives to fly a drone around the Robert Moses Dam and St. Lawrence spillway as part of NYPA’s research into launching its own drone inspection program.
2017-03-09USAF Pays $15.6 Million for Anti-Drone Systems
The US Air Force awarded a $15.6 million contract to ELTA North America Inc., to deliver 21 “counter-unmanned aerial systems,” according to a Feb. 21 Pentagon announcement.
2016-11-30Type-Certifiable Predator B Takes Flight
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), has announced that its Type-Certifiable Predator B (TCPB) variant completed its first flight test at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif., on November 17th.
2016-11-21FAA Evaluates Drone Detection Systems Around Denver
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) that enter the protected airspace around airports can pose serious threats to safety. The FAA is coordinating with our government and industry partners to evaluate technologies that can be used safely to detect drones near airports.
2016-11-17New York Makes $30M Public Investment in Drones
The state of New York is pouring big money into making its central territory an international draw for unmanned aerial system (UAS) innovation.Govenor Andrew Cuomo announced Nov. 10 that $30 million in public funds would be applied toward the creation of a 50-mile-long research corridor to aid in the development of a UAS traffic management system and bolster the state’s standing as an innovation hub.
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
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