Aurora Flight Sciences has tested a technology demonstration platform designed to retrieve unmanned aerial systems as part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program.
“SideArm aims to replicate carriers’ capability to quickly and safely accelerate and decelerate planes through a portable, low-cost kit that is mission-flexible, independent from local infrastructure and compatible with existing and future tactical unmanned aircraft,” said Graham Drozeski, a DARPA program manager.
He added SideArm aims to support various sea- and land-based platforms with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike functions.
The UAS capture system is built to recover aircraft of up to 1,100 pounds, exceeding DARPA’s 900-pound original design objective for the SideArm program.
DARPA said it envisions SideArm to serve as a self-contained, portable system that could horizontally launch and retrieve UAS and fit in a standard 20-foot shipping container for transport via truck, ship, rail, C-130 aircraft or CH-47 heavy-lift helicopter.
The agency currently works to identify potential technology transition partners and explore the use of SideArm with other UAS platforms.