DARPA to Use C-130 to Demo ‘Gremlins’ UAS Launch, Retrieval Operations in 2019

DARPA image

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency plans to use a C-130 aircraft to demonstrate in 2019 the launch and recovery of unmanned aircraft systems in mid-air, Fire Aviation reported Thursday.

DARPA plans to equip the drones with several payloads designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, signals intelligence and electronic warfare missions once deployed, according to a Navy Time report cited by the publication.

General Atomics aims to build a drone that will work to carry a 60-pound payload and operate at a range of 300 nautical miles for an hour, the report added.

DARPA awarded contracts to General Atomics’ aeronautical systems business and Dynetics in March 2017 to build drone prototypes under the second phase of the Gremlins program.

The Gremlins program aims to use transport aircraft, fighter jets and bombers to launch and retrieve swarms of drones in mid-flight once they complete their missions and then reuse those unmanned systems for up to 20 times.

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