Military

DARPA begins development of LongShot air-launched combat drone

DARPA begins development of Lo...
DARPA has initiated a new program to develop an unmanned aircraft capable of carrying multiple air-to-air weapons
DARPA has initiated a new program to develop an unmanned drone that launches from midair
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DARPA has initiated a new program to develop an unmanned aircraft capable of carrying multiple air-to-air weapons
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DARPA has initiated a new program to develop an unmanned drone that launches from midair

Looking to extend the combat range of its aircraft and keep human operators removed from danger, DARPA has kicked off the development of a new missile-equipped drone. Called LongShot, the unmanned vehicle is intended to be launched from the air from a carrier vehicle, with the agency enlisting the services of three defense contractors to get the program off the ground.

Like DARPA’s Gremlin drones that are currently under development, the LongShot program is hoped to result in an unmanned drone that can help keep valuable aircraft and their pilots out of harm’s way. This forms part of the US military’s strategy to supplement its fleets of combat aircraft with unmanned systems, with the Gremlin drone, which is designed to carry a suite of sensors, inching closer to airborne launches and retrieval after several years testing.

The agency says its objective with the LongShot program is to “significantly extend engagement ranges, increase mission effectiveness, and reduce the risk to manned aircraft.” The drone will be capable of employing multiple air-to-air weapons, allowing manned aircraft to remain at greater distances from the enemy.

“The LongShot program changes the paradigm of air combat operations by demonstrating an unmanned, air-launched vehicle capable of employing current and advanced air-to-air weapons,” said DARPA program manager Lt. Col. Paul Calhoun. “LongShot will disrupt traditional incremental weapon improvements by providing an alternative means of generating combat capability.”

The get the ball rolling on the LongShot program, DARPA has awarded contracts to General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman for the preliminary design work. As the program progresses, the aim is to get a full-scale system developed and flight-tested, including demonstration of its abilities to fire weapons under operational conditions.

Source: DARPA

5 comments
paul314
Just what kinds of wars is this going to be used in? When was the last big fighter vs fighter battle?
buzzclick
Like many others, as a little boy I was fascinated with jets and rockets. It's good that New Atlas keeps us abreast of new arms developments in the "defense" industries, but years later as someone who is not involved in the military or arms production, I find them troubling. The USA is not alone in this, but the funds spent on the arms race can and should be used towards benefiting people not finding ways to destroy and kill more efficiently. Yeah, I know, since the beginning of civilization the tribal culture of humanity has been practicing this competitively unhealthy human tendency, but spears and clubs are dwarfed by today's potential for total destruction.
Zerozen
its more like" yo dawg, I heard you like fighters, so I put fighters on the missile rack so it can launch fighters."
Jean Hohl
This is such a downer. Remote warfare epitomizes being cut off from feelings and our connection to nature and other human beings. It's so ignorant.
Techrex
SKYNET!!!