Darpa looks to use small ships as drone bases

Drone with military ship

Related Stories

The US military is planning to use fleets of small ships as platforms for unmanned aircraft to land and take off.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) said it needed to increase its airborne "surveillance and reconnaissance".

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), known as drones, are commonly launched on land - but deploying them at sea is harder because they need to refuel.

They currently require large aircraft carriers with long runways.

The new project has been dubbed Tern (Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node) after a sea-bird known for its endurance.

Darpa programme manager Daniel Patt, said: "Enabling small ships to launch and retrieve long-endurance UAVs on demand would greatly expand our situational awareness and our ability to quickly and flexibly engage in hotspots over land or water."

He added: "It is like having a falcon return to the arm of any person equipped to receive it, instead of to the same static perch every time."

About 98% of the world's land area lies within 900 nautical miles of ocean coastlines, and Darpa increasingly sees conflicts being fought out at sea.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.