Military researchers reach milestone in recovering Gremlins unmanned aircraft in bid for air superiority

Jan. 3, 2022
The idea is to create an unmanned aircraft that can swarm and work together with other unmanned planes, and be retrievable while airborne.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has hit a milestone in its Gremlins program to develop an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to overwhelm and neutralize enemy forces. 1945 reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

3 Jan. 2022 -- During a DARPA-led test in 2021 one of the Gremlins drones was recovered in flight by a C-130 aircraft. If the Gremlins drones can perform the mission the U.S. military has in mind, Gremlins might revolutionize warfare, helping the U.S. ensure air superiority in a war with sophisticated adversary like China or Russia.

An October test began with two X-61 Gremlins flying in formation. The Gremlin slowly approached the C-130 from below -- like an F-22 Raptor fighter jet would approach a KC-135 aerial tanker -- and hooked itself onto a tangling cable.

The drone was then reeled inside the C-130, marking the first time one has been successfully retrieved in flight. After inspecting the recovered Gremlin, the testers sent it on another mission within 24 hours.

Related: DARPA moves forward on plan to develop swarms of cooperating drones

Related: Gremlin drone swarms to overwhelm enemy defenses with reconnaissance and electronic warfare UAVs

Related: Milpower Source to provide power electronics for DARPA Gremlins swarming drones project

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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