DARPA sets unmanned aerial vehicle agenda

DARPA sets unmanned aerial vehicle agenda

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to develop at least seven unmanned aerial vehicle technologies within the next several years.

'Our job is to get these concepts and ideas from the far side and take them to the near side,' DARPA director Tony Tether said Friday. 'DARPA was created 45 years ago to fill that gap.'

The agency's job is to take innovative concepts from the point of initial idea, design them and then release a product to Defense Department agencies for further development and use, he said at a UAV conference in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Shephard Group of Buckinghamshire, U.K.

Seven UAV initiatives cover a wide spectrum of uses:

  • WASP Portable Tactical, a small, wide-area surveillance projectile that will be used by the Navy


  • Private Jones Organic Air Vehicle, a robotic hovering vehicle that will provide real-time reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities


  • Hummingbird A160 Vehicle, a helicopter capable of flying a couple thousand miles and hovering for a few days


  • Integrated System is Structure, a radar sensor to be highly integrated with a high-altitude airship platform


  • Canard Rotor Wing, an airplane capable of vertical take-offs that the Air Force is considering using for crew and rescue missions


  • Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft, an aircraft integrated into the Army's Objective Force structure that will be capable of collaborating with multiple manned and unmanned systems


  • Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems, a project being run jointly by DARPA and the Air Force and Navy to demonstrate the technical feasibility of using networked high-performance, armed UAVs for combat.


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