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DARPA's reusable unmanned 'gremlin' planes are a go

DARPA's reusable unmanned 'gremlin' planes are a go
DARPA's reusable unmanned 'gremlin' planes are a go. Four aerospace and
<p><strong>Four aerospace and security corporations will attempt to make DARPA&#39;s &quot;gremlins program&quot; dream a reality. The Department of Defense division has joined forces with its frequent collaborator Lockheed Martin, Dynetics of Alabama, as well as Composite Engineering and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of California.</strong></p> <p>Dan Patt, the program manager, said these four contractors are &quot;exploring different, innovative approaches&quot; to create a system of reusable unmanned vehicles (called gremlins) that can launch from bigger aircraft, such as bombers and cargo planes.</p> <p>These gremlins will be deployed in groups to go after a target. Once their mission is done, they&#39;ll be collected by a Lockheed C-130 military plane mid-air and prepped for the next mission 24 hours later. They&#39;re expected to be able to fly 20 times before they need to be replaced, unlike single-use drones and missile, to save the military money. At the same time, DARPA envisions small planes that aren&#39;t as costly to maintain as fighter jets.</p> <p>For the project&#39;s first phase, the companies will have to conjure up launch and retrieval techniques, low-cost airframe designs and the drones&#39; navigation system/digital flight controls. This is merely the first step, though, and it&#39;ll take more time before the military can release swarms of low-cost autonomous gremlin planes to do its bidding.</p>
4/3/2016
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