The reason why Aircraft carriers receive so much attention and significance over others is their super-efficient and strong recovery and launch systems. When takeoff is needed, the airplanes are simply hooked up with a catapult and projected towards the nose of ship with their engines on. As the deck goes away, the craft is able to move up in the sky. When it is time to land the aircraft, the cables are strung over the deck so that jet can be decelerated and landed properly. If the cables are absent, the plane would steam towards the flight deck’s end and a mess will be created.
DARPA is now replicating the very same technology over smaller trucks and ships with the help of drones. Called as the SideArm, it is a completely new, self-sufficient, horizontal, and portable launch and retrieval system that was tested recently by the Aurora Flight Sciences. While being tested, the SideArm showcased its complete ability to gran 400 pound Lockheed Martin Fury drone. The makers hoped that it would have the maximum pick up potential for 900 pounds but it exceeded that by snatching up a 1, 100 pounds vehicle flying at a launch speed of catapult.
According to Graham Drozeski, the program manager at DARPA, “SideArm aims to replicate carriers’ capability to quickly and safely accelerate and decelerate planes through a portable, low-cost kit that is mission-flexible, independent from local infrastructure and compatible with existing and future tactical unmanned aircraft,” He continues further, “We’ve demonstrated a reliable capture mechanism that can go anywhere a 20-foot container can go—the DARPA-worthy challenge we had to overcome to make SideArm’s envisioned capabilities possible. We are pleased with the progress we’ve made enabling a wide variety of sea- and land-based platforms with persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities.”
The small size of this system means it can be transported through rails, a CH-47 chopper, or a truck from one place to another.
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