Special airborne capture mechanism designed to recover UAVs misses only by inches during recent tests

Dec. 21, 2020
The October Gremlins test highlights a key feature of the system, which is that it's designed to be reusable with a turnaround time of around 24 hours.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., have revealed that attempted air-recovery of three X-61A Gremlins missed success by just inches during recent tests over Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. New Atlas reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

21 Dec. 2020 -- Nine attempts to capture the drones as they flew behind a C-130 transport plane failed, and they had to parachute to earth.

Being developed by Dynetics, the X-61A Gremlins air vehicle is a new class of combat drone designed to augment multi-mission fighters and help keep extremely valuable aircraft and human pilots out of harm's way.

The catch is getting the capture part to work. According to DARPA, the ground tests of the system were satisfactory, but the aerodynamics in flight were more complicated than expected, causing failure in tests to recover the UAVs at the moment of engagement as each drone flew directly behind the docking bullet trailing from the rear of the C-130.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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