Drones are everywhere, and their popularity will only grow from now on. Darpa has announced a new project that will see small ships being used as aircraft carriers for drones.
Darpa has long wanted to send small ships with drones that can fly around and send data back to those ships, gathering valuable information.
The new project is called Tern, and it is a collaboration between Darpa and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research. Funding has been awarded by Darpa to a new team that is led by Northrop Grumman, a company known for its aircraft-related projects.
One of the main design issues with the project is that, traditionally, it has been difficult for drones to land on ships rocking back and forth because of the water. However, the engineers behind the new project hope to address that and make a drone that can take off and land in cramped and bumpy quarters, and that can fly for extended periods of time.
"The design we have in mind for the Tern demonstrator could greatly increase the effectiveness of any host ship by augmenting awareness, reach and connectivity," said Darpa's program manager, Dan Patt, in a statement. "We continue to make progress toward our goal to develop breakthrough technologies that would enable persistent ISR and strike capabilities almost anywhere in the world at a fraction of current deployment costs, time and effort."
The drones being built for the project will use two propellers and be able to go up and down like a helicopter, as well as forward and horizontally like a plane. The two propellers would be nose-mounted and would be able to lift the drone before re-orienting it for horizontal flight and propelling it.