DARPA’s Gremlins Project, which studies aerial recovery of unmanned aerial vehicles, “came within inches” of drone capture in its third flight test. The progress made inspires confidence in the next attempt, scheduled for spring 2021. https://t.co/YoDnpsvVR9 pic.twitter.com/F27Bivmg42
– DARPA (@DARPA) December 10, 2020
“All of our systems looked good during the ground tests, but the flight test is where you really find out how things work,” said Scott Wierzbanowski, Gremlins program manager at DARPA’s office of tactical technology. in a report. “We got to a few inches of connection with each attempt, but in the end it just wasn’t close enough to activate the recovery system.”
The agency says it is analyzing data obtained from the flights and working on updated designs and models. He plans to hold a fourth round of testing in the spring. Wierzbanowski is confident that the C-130 will be able to tear off GAVs the next time around.
The Gremlins project aims to launch four small drones from a cargo plane and recover them in 30 minutes. DARPA, which was working on the program for several years, believes that being able to conduct such operations “will greatly expand the potential uses of unmanned aerial vehicles in conflict situations”.
As GAV drones are reusable, they will save military money once they are up and running. DARPA expects each drone to be able to fly 20 times before being replaced. Once the drones are recovered, they can be prepared for another mission and resume flight 24 hours later.