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 12 results for Air + Materials RSS
DARPA launched the Aerospace Projects Office (APO) in 2015 in response to a new Defense Department initiative, the Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII), which aims to ensure that the United States can maintain air dominance in future contested environments. The AII includes a new program, AII-X, tasked with designing and demonstrating advanced aircraft technologies. The AII-X program is being led by DARPA, and the APO is its home.
In addition to the six technical offices that manage the Agency’s research portfolio, DARPA operates the Adaptive Execution Office , a support office chartered to accelerate the transition of game-changing DARPA technologies into Department of Defense capabilities. AEO provides DARPA with robust connections to the warfighter community and assists the Agency with the planning and execution of technology demonstrations and field trials to promote adoption by the Services.
In the early days of DARPA’s work on stealth technology, Have Blue, a prototype of what would become the F-117A, first flew successfully in 1977. The success of the F-117A program marked the beginning of the stealth revolution, which has had enormous benefits for national security.
In the early 1970s, a DARPA study brought to light the extent of vulnerabilities of U.S. aircraft and their on-board equipment to detection and attack by adversaries, who were deploying new advanced air-defense missile systems. These systems integrated radar-guided surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and air-launched radar-guided missiles, all networked with early-warning, acquisition, and targeting radars, and coordinated within sophisticated command and control frameworks.

New materials that perform better than previous ones or with unprecedented properties open pathways to new and improved technologies. F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft, still in use by the Air Force today, owe much of their performance advancements to materials technologies that emerged from DARPA materials development programs conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s.