Ship-Borne UAS Plan Progresses

The Navy and the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) are nearly ready to move forward the capability to deploy unmanned aerial systems (UAS) from small-deck ships. Northrop Grumman Corporation will build a full-scale demonstration of the so-called Tern system. To date, the company has built a wing, tested an engine, and developed software for the system, which will be incorporated into the project’s second test vehicle. When the project comes to fruition, the Navy envisions launching and recovering several of the medium-altitude, long-endurance Tern UAS from helicopter decks of forward-deployed ships someday. At-sea flight tests should begin by sometime in late 2018.