Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract by DARPA to design a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft system capable of operating from a moving navy vessel at sea.
An ADAV technology demonstrator for DARPA
Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Office of Tactical Technology to design a vertical take-off and landing (ADAV or VTOL) (autonomous unmanned) aircraft system capable of operating from a moving navy vessel at sea. The ANCILLARY (AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY) demonstrator is envisioned as a vehicle cost-effective, multi-mission capable, and built on an agile runway-independent platform.
20 hours of endurance and 185 km of range
ANCILLARY will be able to carry a large payload of 60 pounds (27.2 kg) with greater endurance of 20 hours and a range of 100 nautical miles (185 km), which is more than current systems, without using any significant additional infrastructure beyond what is on board the air vehicle. The system will also have the ability to land on a ship in adverse weather conditions.
A small UAS
The aircraft will be capable of performing intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting missions, and supporting expeditionary missions for special operations forces and logistics missions with significant affordability impacts for the ship-to-shore transition of parts and supplies. The UAS could be launched and recovered from ship flight decks and small austere land sites in inclement weather, without additional infrastructure equipment, allowing for expeditionary deployments. Unlike large ADAV systems, the small size of the UAS would allow multiple aircraft to be stored and operated from a single vessel, creating a tactical multi-intelligence sensor network capability beyond the line of site. (BLOS).