SideArm pro­to­type catches full-size un­manned aerial sys­tem fly­ing at full speed


Few scenes cap­ture the US Navy’s prow­ess as ef­fec­tively as the rapid­fire take-off and re­cov­ery of com­bat jets from the deck of an air­craft car­rier. The abil­ity to carry air power any­where in the world, and both launch those air­craft to flight speed and bring them to a stop over ex­tremely short dis­tances has been es­sen­tial to car­ri­ers’ decades-long dom­i­nance of naval war­fare.

To help pro­vide sim­i­lar ca­pa­bil­i­ties — mi­nus the 90,000-tonne car­ri­ers — to US mil­i­tary units around the world, DARPA’s SideArm re­search ef­fort seeks to cre­ate a self-con­tained, por­ta­ble ap­pa­ra­tus able to hor­i­zon­tally launch and re­trieve un­manned aerial sys­tems (UAS) of up to 900 pounds.

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