The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has downselected Dynetics, Inc. to progress with Phase 3 of its Gremlins 'aircraft carrier in the sky' programme, it was announced on 18 April.
An artist's impression of the Gremlins concept in operations. Dynetics, Inc. has been chosen to take the programme into Phase 3 development, ahead of flight trials planned for 2019.Photo by: DARPA
The Dynetics-led team, which includes Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, Inc., was selected over a rival offering led by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to proceed with the final phase of the effort to launch groups of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from multiple types of military aircraft.
Phase 1 (Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Lockheed Martin; GA-ASI and Dynetics) of the Gremlins programme showed the feasibility of airborne UAV launch and recovery systems that would require minimal modification to the host aircraft, while Phase 2 (GA-ASI and Dynetics) sought to mature two system concepts to enable this 'aircraft carriers in the sky' concept.