The Long-Range drone will patrol the oceans, is designed as a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) flyer for the U.S. Navy.
Image credit DARPA
The Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN), a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), seeks to enable forward-deployed small ships to serve as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
DARPA has awarded prime contracts for Phase 2 of ‘Tern’ to two companies: AeroVironment, Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
Dan Patt, DARPA program manager, said:
“To offer the equivalent of land-based UAS capabilities from small-deck ships, our Phase 2 performers are each designing a new unmanned air system intended to enable two previously unavailable capabilities: one, the ability for a UAS to take off and land from very confined spaces in elevated sea states and two, the ability for such a UAS to transition to efficient long-duration cruise missions.”