Aurora Flight Sciences has been as awarded a $2,811,232 contract by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) for the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program.
The objective of the DAPRA TERN program is to design, develop, and demonstrate a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and related technologies to enable future launch, recovery, and operations from a wide range of existing US Navy ships.
Aurora would design a deployable UAS capable of launch and recovery from small naval ships. Leveraging innovative autonomous flight control technology originally developed for Aurora’s Orion UAS and Centaur Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA), Aurora would take a systems level approach to address the challenges of capture dispersion, capture load management, and ship-board integration with a minimal on-board footprint.
“Aurora’s TERN solution would be a disruptive technology capable of transforming how the US Navy conducts operations in the 21st century,” said Dr. John S. Langford, Aurora’s CEO and founder. “TERN would enable unmanned air vehicles with significant payload capabilities to operate from a large number of ships that do not have runways.”
The DARPA TERN program would provide warfighters with an affordable solution that allows fixed wing UAS with surveillance and communications capabilities to routinely operate from existing naval ships, extending their effective range and operational capabilities.
Aurora’s industry team includes leading experts in shipboard integration, naval operations, robotics, and flight controls. The Aurora approach meets or exceeds all of the TERN program requirements while offering DARPA a potentially innovative and low-risk solution that could be affordably transitioned to the warfighter.