UAV program that can launch air-to-air weapons progresses at DARPANews
February 08, 2021
ARLINGTON, Va. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded several contracts under its LongShot program, which is aimed at development of an air-launched unmanned air vehicle (UAV) that can deploy multiple air-to-air weapons.
The LongShot program -- which seeks to develop a novel UAV that can significantly extend engagement ranges, increase mission effectiveness, and reduce the risk to manned aircraft -- signed contracts for preliminary Phase I design work with General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman.
DARPA documents show that the agency envisions LongShot as increasing the survivability of manned platforms by allowing them to be at standoff ranges far away from enemy threats.
“The LongShot program changes the paradigm of air combat operations by demonstrating an unmanned, air-launched vehicle capable of employing current and advanced air-to-air weapons,” said DARPA program manager Lt. Col. Paul Calhoun. “LongShot will disrupt traditional incremental weapon improvements by providing an alternative means of generating combat capability.”
Later phases of the program will see construction and flight of a full-scale air-launched demonstration system capable of controlled flight, before, during, and after weapon ejection under operational conditions.