Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Air Systems

Manned and unmanned aerial systems, including fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and supporting technologies

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DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) focuses on developing and demonstrating innovative system-level technologies and prototypes that incorporate new and emerging technologies, all for the purpose of preserving and significantly extending U.S. military advantages over potential adversaries. To help accomplish these goals and inform potential performers about TTO’s technical objectives, TTO held its fourth annual Proposers Day at DARPA's offices in Arlington, Va. On Wednesday and Thursday, April 20 and 21, 2016.
DARPA has awarded Phase 1 contracts for its Gremlins program, which seeks to develop innovative technologies and systems enabling aircraft to launch volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned air systems (UASs) and safely and reliably retrieve them in mid-air. Such systems, or “gremlins,” would be deployed with a mixture of mission payloads capable of generating a variety of effects in a distributed and coordinated manner, providing U.S. forces with improved operational flexibility at a lower cost than is possible with conventional, monolithic platforms.
A research effort associated with DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program recently conducted the first successful flight tests of a shoebox-sized, plug-and-play system designed to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to automatically detect nearby aircraft and avoid potential mid-air collisions. An unmanned air vehicle (UAV) repeatedly used the technology demonstration system to detect and track in real time a Cessna 172G aircraft approaching from various vertical and horizontal distances.
DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program seeks to help the U.S. military’s unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) conduct dynamic, long-distance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in denied or contested electromagnetic airspace, all while reducing required communication bandwidth and cognitive burden on human supervisors.
In the decades-long quest to develop reusable aircraft that can reach hypersonic speeds—Mach 5 (approximately 3,300 miles per hour/5,300 kilometers per hour) and above—engineers have grappled with two intertwined, seemingly intractable challenges: The top speed of traditional jet-turbine engines maxes out at roughly Mach 2.5, while hypersonic engines such as scramjets cannot provide effective thrust at speeds much below Mach 3.5.
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