The Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyÂ is seekingÂ input from industry regarding the development of a solution that wouldÂ “blend” the capabilities of large manned aircraft and small unmanned aircraft systems.
DARPA said SundayÂ it plans to use large manned planesÂ toÂ launch, recover and transportÂ severalÂ small UAS and facilitate greater range, speed and endurance for these UAS whenÂ performing missions.
“We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky,'” said Daniel Patt, program manager at DARPA.
The agency is requesting information onÂ the feasibility of functions for airborne launch and recovery of reusable small UASÂ for large aircraft; affordability of distributed airborneÂ capabilitiesÂ such as precision-relative navigation; and plans for full-system flight demonstrationÂ within a four-year time frame.
DARPA will accept responses through Nov. 26.