Aurora Flight Sciences announced today that it has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the accelerated development of its SideArm launch and recovery system.
Demonstration of the SideArm technology was a key part of Aurora’s work on the Tactically Enhanced Reconnaissance Node (Tern) program. Aurora’s Phase 1 Tern results indicated that SideArm could fulfill needs for aircraft launch and recovery as part of Tern’s goal of developing technology that would enable small ships to serve as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS). DARPA has awarded a contract for the continued development of this technology. The Aurora SideArm program includes integration and testing of SideArm technology, which would enable rapid transition to military utilization.
“Aurora developed the SideArm technology to a high degree of maturity in Phase 1 of Tern,” stated Graham Drozeski, Aurora program manager. “We have a path where continued development of the technology could make a near-term impact. The SideArm program focuses efforts on that opportunity.”
The SideArm technology supports launch and recovery of a range of tactical unmanned aircraft, including existing platforms and platforms under development.
“The SideArm system could provide runway independence to fixed-wing unmanned air systems (UAS) as part of Tern’s vision,” said Aurora Chief Technology Officer Tom Clancy. “This is a driver for responsive and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage of remote targets almost anywhere.”