The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking input from industry regarding the development of a solution that would “blend” the capabilities of large manned aircraft and small unmanned aircraft systems.
DARPA said Sunday it plans to use large manned planes to launch, recover and transport several small UAS and facilitate greater range, speed and endurance for these UAS when performing missions.
“We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky,'” said Daniel Patt, program manager at DARPA.
The agency is requesting information on the feasibility of functions for airborne launch and recovery of reusable small UAS for large aircraft; affordability of distributed airborne capabilities such as precision-relative navigation; and plans for full-system flight demonstration within a four-year time frame.
DARPA will accept responses through Nov. 26.