An upwards falling predator drone, firing a missile

DARPA begins development of ocean-launched, upwards-falling UAVs

Autore: ExtremeTech

An upwards falling predator drone, firing a missile

DARPA wants its drones to fall upwards. It sounds like nonsense at first, but this “Upward Falling Payloads” (UFP) program is actually quite clever. First of all, the Navy needs to plant unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) inside of capsules across the ocean floor, all over the world. From there, the UAV (or another strategic payload) can hibernate inside of the protective capsule for years on end. When the Navy needs surveillance or aerial support, it can remotely trigger these devices, and they float to the surface. In other words, they fall upwards.

In a post on DARPA’s website, program manager Andy Coon explains why these UFPs are useful, and lets us in on some of the challenges that engineers will face when creating the capsules. Essentially, the Navy is hamstrung by its resources. Getting proper coverage to every nook and cranny of the globe is difficult with its current strategies. With the UFP program, the Navy will be able to get coverage in far-flung areas with very short notice.

DARPA Logo Designing these UFPs is a serious engineering feat. They need to withstand the vast pressures of the bottom of the ocean while remaining easily accessible via radio. Perhaps most interestingly, the capsules are designed in such a way to take the brunt of the climate while the payload inside doesn’t have to be specially designed for deep-sea travel. This research can then be useful to many other fields as well — not just the military. Telecommunications, oil exploration, and scientific study of the ocean ecology are specifically mentioned as benefiting from UFP.

DARPA also insists that UFP won’t be weaponized — good for foreign relations, and also minimizing the risk of a node being stolen or lost. Instead, DARPA is focusing on delivering payloads that can provide surveillance, better communications, rescue capabilities, and even counterintelligence activities like deception and communication disruption. Instead of relying on sending out ships with entire crews, these capsules will just float up to the surface, and the devices can launch right from there. This program will offer the Navy a wide range of capabilities while allowing it to act swiftly anywhere in the world. As DARPA gets a better idea of how these UFPs will be used, we can expect to see at least a few of these capsules launch unmanned water-based vehicles as well.

On January 25, DARPA will be holding a Proposers’ Day Conference. This will allow the development team to explain their project, answer any questions, and speak to interested parties. It won’t be long until there are concrete plans to implement these UFPs in the wild. Who knows? Maybe a few years from now entire squadrons will be saved from hostile situations by a drone that fell upwards.

Now read: PETMAN: The US Army’s latest lifelike robotic recruit

[Image credit: superstrikertwo & McConnell Franklin]

3 thoughts on “DARPA begins development of ocean-launched, upwards-falling UAVs

  1. … dei seguenti acronimi ?

    1. NYSE
    2. OCSE
    3. WTO
    4. NATO
    5. DARPA
    6. MIT
    7. BCE
    8. NTSC
    9. ISO
    10. ISS

    rispondete si o no per ognuno

    :)

    se volete motivate (come fate a conoscere il significato dell’acronimo ? dove l’avete appreso ?)
    2 pique… allora tu le sai tutte ? perchè non lo dici allora ? e perchè non motivi…

    la domanda è chiara… e io non credo che molte lo sappiano che significano questi acronimi, laureate o no.

    O mi sbaglio ? domanda a quelle che conosci, così ti convinci
    Carmen, hai fatto i compiti… ma ISS l’hai cannato

    :)))
    @Simona: tutte tranne COSO… io per coso conosco il “coso” non altri cosi…

    :)

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