DARPA Wants Airborne Launch Facility For Drones

DARPA is interested in developing what amounts to an airborne "aircraft carrier" for launching and retrieving drone aircraft.

DARPA is interested in exploring the feasibility of small UAS airborne launch and recovery approaches for providing distributed airborne capabilities from existing air platforms. The agency envisions a large aircraft that, with minimal modification, could launch and recover multiple small unmanned systems from a standoff distance. It is postulated that there is a useful trade space in terms of launch platforms; recovery platforms; recovery techniques; the number of UAS employed; the size (and cost) of the UAS; UAS speed, range, and endurance; UAS propulsion; UAS survivability; payload types; and operational concepts.

This RFI seeks information on concept feasibility, unique and enabling platform technologies, system architectures, concepts of operation, modeling and simulation, potential demonstration platforms and approaches, and reusable low-cost delivery vehicle (UAS) platform concepts. DARPA is primarily interested in platform-related technologies and concepts. This RFI also seeks rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost and schedule information to assist in planning a potential future DARPA program in this area.

In his 2012 thriller Kill Decision, Daniel Suarez introduces the idea of a parent drone that can launch a smaller, special-purpose drone.

The concept of a "flying aircraft carrier" still fascinates us. In the Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a 2004 movie directed by Kerry Conran and starring Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, the intrepid Sky Captain runs out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, a huge flying platform commanded by his friend Franky (played by Angelina Jolie) was in the area.


(Movie-style flying aircraft carrier with plane in foreground)

This improbably large craft had hundreds of crewmembers with dozens of aircraft; it was kept aloft by large downward-pointing rotors. This excellent film was shot almost entirely against a blue background; computer-generated graphics make enormous flying platforms possible in the movies, if not in real life.


(Movie-style flying aircraft carrier seen from below)

Take a look at the real-life airship Macon, which was used to launch and retrieve recon aircraft, whose great size and rumbling engines were a familiar part of life to students at Stanford in the early 'thirties.

Via NextBigFuture and DARPA.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/8/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...

Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.' - George Lucas, 1976.

Smartflower Solar Panel Unfolds In Video
'...the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.' - David Brin, 1990.

3D Printed Prosthetic Coral
Be sure to read The Diamond Age - still worth it.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'

Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'

Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.

Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'

Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...

Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.

President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'

Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'

Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'

Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!

Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.