DARPA plans VTOL drone for diversified, tight-space operation
Offering additional evidence that drones now figure front and center in the minds of military planners, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to produce a lightweight, long-flying, heavy-payload vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone intended to multiply the both number and potential mission uses of UAVs at troops’ disposal.
DARPA, which organizes technology research and development for US military agencies, says the VTOL drone envisioned will be able to take off from and land in relatively tight spaces – like the decks of small Navy vessels or in cramped or inhospitable ground positions – without needing launch or recovery material that large military-grade UAVs do. Intended use cases include reconnaissance, surveillance, cargo transport, and intelligence and data gathering, though the design of the craft may permit it to carry munitions in the future as well.
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