With the Longshot, DARPA is developing its own airborne combat drone

A drone dropped from a fighter to penetrate the adversary's airspace, and capable of firing air-to-air missiles at enemy aircraft and drones: that's it the objective of the Longshot program initiated by DARPA, the Pentagon's research and development agency. And for Washington, the need is urgent, since the objective is to be able to test a prototype during the second half of 2024. 3 American aeronautical companies have been selected to compete in this project, the drone specialist General Atomics, the aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman , and the now unavoidable Lockheed Martin.

The program will be divided into 3 successive phases, the first of twelve months to define the preliminary design, the second of 9 months to arrive at a final design and a first level of risk limitation. At the end of this second phase, only one of the 3 participants will be selected to design and build the prototypes during phase 3. Darpa has a budget of $ 22 million for fiscal year 2021 to devote to this project, but the overall budget has not yet been defined.

Northrop-Grumman's vision of the Longshot program

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