Northrop Grumman and AeroVironment have been selected to design a new unmanned air system to launch and recover from small ships.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded the contracts for the second phase of its Tern program, a joint effort between DARPA and the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research, the agency said Monday.
Dan Patt, DARPA program manager, said the program’s goal is to develop technologies the Navy could integrate into future fleets and help the Defense Department deploy intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike capabilities.
“To offer the equivalent of land-based UAS capabilities from small-deck ships, our phase 2 performers are each designing a new unmanned air system intended to enable two previously unavailable capabilities: one, the ability for a UAS to take off and land from very confined spaces in elevated sea states and two, the ability for such a UAS to transition to efficient long-duration cruise missions,“ added Patt.
DARPA plans to select one vendor to build a demonstrator Tern system for initial ground-based tests under the program's third phase.