DARPA wants the capability to launch and recover multiple small unmanned air systems from existing large manned aircraft such as the C-130 cargo plane. The agency has issued a request for information (RFI) asking for technical, security and business insights to help them do this.
Military air operations typically rely on large, manned, robust aircraft, but such missions put these expensive assets-and their pilots-at risk. While small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can reduce or eliminate such risks, they lack the speed, range and endurance of larger aircraft. These complementary traits suggest potential benefits in a blended approach-one in which larger aircraft would carry, launch and recover multiple small UAS….
“We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky’,” said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager.
James H. Burns immediately asked — “Don’t they know about the Helicarrier?” But I said, “Even DARPA hasn’t failed to notice they’re constantly catching fire and crashing….”
Burns agreed: “Yes, those Heli-Carriers — what a Fal-con mess… Perhaps they should have been more Lo-ki.”