The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has demonstrated an unmanned vessel and a sensor mast prototype through open-water tests conducted off the coast of California.
DARPA developed the autonomous vehicle through the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program and the sensor mast prototype as part of the Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems initiative, the agency said Oct. 24.
During the two-day demonstration, DARPA used the ACTUV vessel to deploy the TALONS prototype carrying an electro-optical/infrared sensor, omnidirectional radio and surface-track radar and found that the TALONS system inflated its parachute and extended the range of the payloads at an altitude of up to 1,000 feet.
“This ACTUV/TALONS demonstration is the latest in DARPA’s history of cross-program collaboration to develop breakthrough technologies for national security,” said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s tactical technology office.
The TALONS prototype is designed to carry up to 150 pounds of communications, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance payloads at an altitude of between 500 and 1,500 feet.
DARPA collaborated with Leidos, Maritime Applied Physics Corp., U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command-Pacific and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division to perform the joint demonstration.
The TALONS initiative is part of the first phase of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node program of DARPA and the Office of Naval Research.
DARPA held a christening ceremony for the ACTUV prototype vessel in April in Oregon and plans to work with ONR to test the vehicle and other payloads onboard the unmanned vessel in the next two years.