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General Atomics Test-Flies UAS Launch & Recovery Demonstrator


General Atomics' aeronautical systems business has demonstrated a small unmanned aircraft system during a captive carry test with an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft.

Sparrowhawk flight demonstrations took place from Sept. 16 to 17 and used a laptop-hosted control station to manage the air launch-and-recovery demonstrator vehicle, the company said Friday.

The system was built upon the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Gremlins program aimed at experimenting with methods to deploy multiple sUAS units from larger aircraft and retrieve the small drones in the air.

The company intends for its Sparrowhawk to support the Advanced Battle Management System, the U.S. Air Force's new platform for integrated situational awareness and command and control, as a potential attritable technology.

David Alexander, president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., said the sUAS will work to extend MQ-9 sensors and increase coverage in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Sparrowhawk is designed to also support electronic warfare operations in contested environments and use larger payloads at longer transportation ranges than some ground- or air-launched vehicles.

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