US Military Developing A Drone For ‘Persistent’ Surveillance Of The Entire Earth [VIDEO]
The military is developing a drone that can stay airborne for long periods of time and provide persistent surveillance and strike targeting virtually anywhere in the world.
The aircraft, called Tern, is the first “tailsitting” drone and can launch vertically like a helicopter from small aircraft carriers with its counter-rotating nose propellers. Once airborne, the drone rotates and flies like a plane at medium altitude.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Navy’s Office of Naval Research released a concept video Thursday showing Tern’s liftoff and flight capabilities.
DARPA tapped Northrup Grumman to develop the drone, and after adding $17 million to the contract this June, the project is currently valued at $150,247,051.
DARPA currently has a scale model of the Tern it’s testing in a wind-tunnel, but now the agency wants a full-scale demonstration model.
“We’re making substantial progress toward our scheduled flight tests, with much of the hardware already fabricated and software development and integration in full swing,” Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in a press release.
“As we keep pressing into uncharted territory—no one has flown a large unmanned tailsitter before—we remain excited about the future capabilities a successful Tern demonstration could enable: organic, persistent, long-range reconnaissance, targeting, and strike support from most Navy ships.”
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