Tech

March 6, 2013

DARPA’s new TERN program aims for eyes in the sky from the sea

darpa-isr
Effective 21st-century warfare requires the ability to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and strike mobile targets anywhere, around the clock.

Current technologies, however, have their limitations. Helicopters are relatively limited in the distance and flight time.

Fixed-wing manned and unmanned aircraft can fly farther and longer but require either aircraft carriers or large, fixed land bases with runways often longer than a mile. Moreover, establishing these bases or deploying carriers requires substantial financial, diplomatic and security commitments that are incompatible with rapid response.

To help overcome these challenges and expand DOD options, DARPA has launched the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node program. Seeking to combine the strengths of both land- and sea-based approaches to supporting airborne assets, TERN envisions using smaller ships as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude long-endurance fixed-wing unmanned aircraft. Named after the family of seabirds known for flight endurance ñ many species migrate thousands of miles each year ñ TERN aims to make it much easier, quicker and less expensive for DOD to deploy ISR and strike capabilities almost anywhere in the world.

It’s like having a falcon return to the arm of any person equipped to receive it, instead of to the same static perch every time, said Daniel Patt, DARPA program manager. About 98 percent of the worldís land area lies within 900 nautical miles of ocean coastlines. Enabling small ships to launch and retrieve long-endurance UAVs on demand would greatly expand our situational awareness and our ability to quickly and flexibly engage in hotspots over land or water.

To familiarize potential participants with the technical objectives of TERN, DARPA will host a Proposers’ Day March 20, 2013, in the DARPA Conference Center. For details, visit: http://go.usa.gov/2gxJ. Registration closes at noon, EDT, March 18.

DARPA seeks proposals that would design, develop and demonstrate a MALE UAV and an associated automated launch and recovery system. The UAV would have to carry a 600-pound payload and have an operational radius of 600 to 900 nautical miles from its host vessel. The launch and recovery system would have to fit Littoral Combat Ship 2 (LCS-2)-class ships and other surface combat vessels as feasible.

Key technical challenges include:

  • Devising a reliable launch and recovery technique that enables large aircraft operations from smaller ships, even in rough seas;
  • Designing an aircraft with range, endurance and payload comparable to emerging land-based unmanned aircraft, while still meeting the demands of the maritime environment;
  • Ensuring the entire system can operate with minimal, and preferably reversible, ship modifications and minimal personnel requirements for operations and maintenance; and
  • Packaging the system to fit into the limited space aboard ships.

DARPA plans to roll out TERN in three phases over approximately 40 months, culminating in a full-scale launch and recovery demonstration.

“We’re trying to rethink how the ship, UAV and launch and recovery domains ñ which have traditionally worked in parallel ñ can synergistically collaborate to help achieve the vision of base-independent operations for maritime or overland missions,” Patt said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>