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Published on Feb 6, 2017
DARPA’s SideArm research effort seeks to create a self-contained, portable apparatus able to horizontally launch and retrieve unmanned aerial systems (UASs) of up to 900 pounds.
In December 2016, Aurora Flight Sciences successfully tested a full-scale technology demonstration system that repeatedly captured a 400-pound Lockheed Martin Fury UAS accelerated to representative flight speeds via an external catapult. The system is capable of recovering aircraft up to 1,100 pounds—exceeding DARPA’s design objectives—and furthers the project’s goal of supporting larger UASs up to 1,320 pounds.
SideArm is part of DARPA’s individual investment in Phase 1 research for Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR). Now that demonstration of the capture system is complete, DARPA is working to identify potential transition partners and exploring using SideArm with other UAS platforms.