DARPA’s looking toward disappearing delivery drones

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 9, 2015, 4:15 pm CDT
DARPA’s looking toward disappearing delivery drones

The problem with making deliveries to remotely located military troops is that anyone can see the delivery take place — at least those nearby — and will know, as a result, approximately where the team is located. In other situations, the delivery vehicle could be at risk by being visible. Parachutes are the most common form of military delivery operations, but they’re burdensome in addition to being visible, requiring personnel to bring the parachute back out with them. As a potential way to solve these problems, DARPA has turned its sights toward invisible delivery drones.

According to Defense Systems, DARPA is considering the use of UAVs with some sort of cloaking technology in order to make deliveries. The drones will make their drop, then disappear from the sky. The technology is being sought under the Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS) program, which requires the drones to be 100% invisible from the naked eye.

Development is currently underway, with DARPA seeking a testing device that will hold 3lbs payloads and be able to deliver them within 32ft. of a target based on GPS coordinates. Once the payload is dropped, the drone has to completely vanish — DARPA makes it clear that it isn’t interested in aerial vehicles that “technically disappear” from sight.

The ICARUS research would ultimately go toward supporting Special Forces and other military teams, as well as disaster relief teams that are sent to locations where they have minimal supplies. DARPA is splitting ICARUS into two project phases, each one lasting a full year. A proposer/proposal day will take place on October 15 for interested potential partners.

SOURCE: Defense Systems

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