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The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency will begin testing a program to launch and recover small drones from an Air Force C-130 aircraft. DARPA’s Gremlins program deploys a group of small drones carrying a 60-pound sensor payload up to 300 nautical miles.
The drones are able to perform a range of missions, such as testing enemy air defenses and conducting ISR missions for an hour on station before returning to an Air Force C-130, developers said. A key concept of the program is extending the mission range of aircraft, while allowing manned crews to operate at safer distances.
Gremlins moves beyond existing state-of-the-art programs able which are able to launch, but not recover, swarms of mini-drones. The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, an initiative aimed at harnessing near-term emerging technologies for operational use, demonstrated an ability to launch small drones from the flare dispenser of an F-16. While able to blanket areas with ISR and perform significant mission-enhancing functions, they are expendable and not available for re-use.
“For decades, U.S. military air operations have relied on increasingly capable multi-function manned aircraft to execute critical combat and non-combat missions. Adversaries’ abilities to detect and engage those aircraft from longer ranges have improved over time as well,” said DARPA in a statement.
DARPA has continued its contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems to move Gremlins into the next phase of development, an effort which will involve initial testing and evaluations along with a Preliminary Design Review.
“سیستم ما قادر است ساختارهای طولانی و کثیفی که زیست توده ها را می سازند، به گاز هیدروژن تبدیل کند؛ چیزی که خیلی مفیدتر از مواد اولیه است. با این سیستم می توانیم مواد ارگانیک را در معرض نور خورشید قرار دهیم و به راحتی سوخت هیدروژن تولید کنیم”. یافته های این تحقیق در نشریه انرژی طبیعت (Nature Energy) منتشر شده اند.