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DARPA Plans ‘Tern Tech’ Demo for UAS Launch, Retrieval Functions

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is conducting two technology demonstration efforts for unmanned aircraft system capabilities developed under the Tern program.

DARPA said Thursday its SideArm and Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems portions of the Tern program seek to build on its research as part of phase one.

“Through SideArm, TALONS and other projects, DARPA aims to make it much easier, quicker and less expensive for the Defense Department to deploy persistent ISR and strike capabilities almost anywhere in the world,” said Daniel Patt, program manager at DARPA.

The SideArm effort — which seeks to develop a portable device that can horizontally launch and recover UAS from ships, land vehicles or fixed ground facilities — will move forward to risk reduction and hardware tests within the year.

The TALONS effort — which works to create an automated parafoil system for greater communications capability and maritime domain awareness of small ships — will go next to at-sea testing and potential transition to the U.S. Navy.

Tern is a joint research and development program between DARPA and the Navy’s Office of Naval Research that targets mobile UAS launch and recovery capabilities using small vessels.

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