Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Air Systems

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

Showing 53 results for Air + ISR RSS
Military aircraft are vulnerable in conditions of degraded visibility due to pilots’ inability to discern obstacles, cables, or other aircraft during flight or while landing. The danger is particularly acute in demanding, harsh environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
| Air | ISR | Sensors | SWAP |
DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program envisions future small-unit infantry forces using swarms comprising upwards of 250 small unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and/or small unmanned ground systems (UGSs) to accomplish diverse missions in complex urban environments. By leveraging and combining emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming, the program seeks to enable rapid development and deployment of breakthrough capabilities.
Effective 21st-century warfare requires the ability to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike mobile targets anywhere, around the clock. Current technologies, however, have their limitations. Helicopters are relatively limited in their distance and flight time. Fixed-wing manned and unmanned aircraft can fly farther and longer but require either aircraft carriers or large, fixed land bases with runways often longer than a mile. Moreover, establishing these bases or deploying carriers requires substantial financial, diplomatic and security commitments that are incompatible with rapid response.
Cloudy skies, dust and other vision-obscuring conditions often limit the support capabilities overhead aircraft can provide warfighters on the ground. Airborne weapon systems that use electro-optic and infrared (EO/IR) sensors during support missions can’t “see” through clouds, and current synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology can’t provide high-resolution video imagery of moving ground targets through clouds.
Current UAVs provide valuable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage for troops deployed overseas. However, UAVs cannot stay airborne for extended periods of time before needing to be refueled or serviced. DARPA’s Vulture program seeks to develop critical enabling technologies for an airborne payload to remain on-station, uninterrupted for more than five years, performing ISR and communication missions over an area of interest.
| Air | Energy | ISR | Unmanned |