DARPA have created a crowd sourced sUAS design competition with a $100,000 dollar prize. They are now looking for companies to develop the winning designs.

This is the second major ticket competition to be announced this year for sUAS. The Chinese carrier landing competition carries a total prize fund of $378,000. To date the Outback Challenge in Australia has been the UAV competition of choice. It will be interesting to see if these newcomers can generate the same amount of interest and support from the sUAS community.

Researchers at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are asking industry to develop a small, bird-like unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) small enough to fit in a soldier’s rucksack and able to fly to and perch on useful locations for several hours near targets of interest to provide continuous, real-time persistent surveillance without help from human operators.

The craft must fly a distance of at least two miles avoiding obstacles and then sit on a building for at  three hours observing before coming home in time for tea and medals.


Here are the teams (along with all videos submitted by each) that have made it up to Milestone 3 – Live Demo Video:

Adaptive Flight Inc
Electric UAV
Extractor X
Navy EOD
Phase Analytic
sq-4 recon


  1 comment for “DARPA UAVForge

  1. Macboffin
    27 December 2011 at 9:30 pm

    This “Perch and Stare” concept has been out there for some time; variants including the ability to perch on/near power lines in order to replenish batteries,condensers or other power sources.
    So…”Birdlike”. Means it has to flap its wings, ie ornithopter? Or look like a bird when perched? Better not look like an edible bird, pigeon etc, could have a short working life! Obviously this is a very desirable concept, but since pending so long, not as as easy as it sounds.Not least among requirements, able to survive yomping around in a back-pack. The ability to return for medals doesn’t seem a must, as lomg as important data can be transmitted back to the operator or his/her controllers.One can envisage scenarios of use, perhaps including checking what time hostage guards are changed,how alert they seem, etc, and even supplying an attention getter whilst the real action starts round the corner. It may well be that the real reason there have been no proposals amounting to much is that this is not likely to lead to big orders and big bucks.