DARPA Launches Gremlins Program

bring_it_on

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giphy.gif


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdAna0aGVTE
 

bobbymike

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https://www.airforcetimes.com/newsletters/daily-news-roundup/2017/12/18/darpa-hopes-to-swarm-drones-out-of-c-130s-in-2019-test/
 

NeilChapman

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Recovering four in 30 minutes sounds like a heck of a long time to load. Seems like a pretty low threshold of success. When does that 30 minutes start, when the first one engages the docking device, when the docking device is lowered from the docking platform or when the docking platform opens its recovery doors?

SpaceX can land a rocket potentially back on it's launch platform. An F-35 can land in exactly the same spot, over and over and over again, so accurately they had to introduce variation into the software so as not to wear down the landing location. Planes and helicoptors can autonomously land on aircraft carriers.

These devices can't dock autonomously back to the docking platform? Why are humans expected to be involved in this process? Sounds like a way to reduce risk and raise costs.
 

AeroFranz

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Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
 

jsport

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AeroFranz said:
Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
In complete agreement and that is why this concept has never had military utility. If the payload is so sensitive that it must be returned then use a different UAS. Manned transports vulnerable to S-400 S- 500 ::)
 

Airplane

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jsport said:
AeroFranz said:
Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
In complete agreement and that is why this concept has never had military utility. If the payload is so sensitive that it must be returned then use a different UAS. Manned transports vulnerable to S-400 S- 500 ::)

An expendable drone, small enough for 4 of them, able to be carried internally by an F-35 would be something to consider. Dropping 4 of them into the battlespace each with 3 to 4 hour endurance would be really awesome. When they're done, then dive bomb into a target or into the ground.

Something like a smaller tacit rainbow in size.

...or maybe 24 of them in a Bone is a better idea?
 

jsport

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Airplane said:
jsport said:
AeroFranz said:
Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
In complete agreement and that is why this concept has never had military utility. If the payload is so sensitive that it must be returned then use a different UAS. Manned transports vulnerable to S-400 S- 500 ::)

An expendable drone, small enough for 4 of them, able to be carried internally by an F-35 would be something to consider. Dropping 4 of them into the battlespace each with 3 to 4 hour endurance would be really awesome. When they're done, then dive bomb into a target or into the ground.

Something like a smaller tacit rainbow in size.

...or maybe 24 of them in a Bone is a better idea?
Yeah, it is called all various versions of MALD since forever.
 

Airplane

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jsport said:
Airplane said:
jsport said:
AeroFranz said:
Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
In complete agreement and that is why this concept has never had military utility. If the payload is so sensitive that it must be returned then use a different UAS. Manned transports vulnerable to S-400 S- 500 ::)

An expendable drone, small enough for 4 of them, able to be carried internally by an F-35 would be something to consider. Dropping 4 of them into the battlespace each with 3 to 4 hour endurance would be really awesome. When they're done, then dive bomb into a target or into the ground.

Something like a smaller tacit rainbow in size.

...or maybe 24 of them in a Bone is a better idea?
Yeah, it is called all various versions of MALD since forever.

No, not unless it somehow magically fits inside and F-35 now.
 

jsport

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Airplane said:
jsport said:
Airplane said:
jsport said:
AeroFranz said:
Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
In complete agreement and that is why this concept has never had military utility. If the payload is so sensitive that it must be returned then use a different UAS. Manned transports vulnerable to S-400 S- 500 ::)

An expendable drone, small enough for 4 of them, able to be carried internally by an F-35 would be something to consider. Dropping 4 of them into the battlespace each with 3 to 4 hour endurance would be really awesome. When they're done, then dive bomb into a target or into the ground.

Something like a smaller tacit rainbow in size.

...or maybe 24 of them in a Bone is a better idea?
Yeah, it is called all various versions of MALD since forever.

No, not unless it somehow magically fits inside and F-35 now.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveilling_Miniature_Attack_Cruise_Missile
(expendable UAV)
 

marauder2048

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Even if recovery proves to be an occasional thing you're still ending up with an expendable
with more flexible, heavier payload than MALD and (potentially much) longer range.

Provided that the recovery equipment doesn't displace some of the volley payload...
 

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jsport

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marauder2048 said:
Even if recovery proves to be an occasional thing you're still ending up with an expendable
with more flexible, heavier payload than MALD and (potentially much) longer range.

Provided that the recovery equipment doesn't displace some of the volley payload...
The 'flying coke machine' concept is one thing and would likely still need to be jet able to survive while recovering multiple large semi-attritables is another and questionable. Allowing a adversary to chase your rabbit back to its nest ::)
 

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https://www.army-technology.com/features/gremlins-darpa-uav-programme/

The US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is almost ready to unleash its Gremlins– a swarm of UAVs built to perform multiple tasks from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), to the delivery of arms and other essential equipment in high risk areas. Talal Husseini takes a look at the ambitious program.
 

Grey Havoc

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Trying to cut production costs perhaps?
 
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TomcatViP

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Don't see any reflex but it sure looks like a lot of camber....
just for other to build an opinion:

reflexedoutline.gif


See here: http://www.angelfire.com/on/dragonflyaircraft/reflexing.html

Here we have body creating massive lift. As I wrote somewhere before they use the body lift for high speed low alpha and wing lift for slow speed. The problem is now that at low speed, high alpha (hence the thick wing to reduce the alpha), body nose creates a lot of adverse moment (moment that pitch up the airframe). Having a reflexed airfoil means more trim moment at equal drag. Hence soother flight in turbulence... Just the like when flying through the slipstream of a big bird...

IMOHO, it had to be noticed ;)
 
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coanda

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Tomcat, the airfoil in the picture is fairly high camber. The control surface can offer some reflex as a kind of trimmable trailing edge, but I think the baseline shape is high camber. This is a bit different to an airfoil with reflex designed in such as the NACA 24112.
 

bobbymike

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TomcatViP

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How did it bank? Anyone noticed any ctrl surface moving? (end of video)
Notice also the naca inlet on the underbelly.
 

red admiral

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Maybe Kratos needs to check its recovery chute design after binning this, and damaging the XQ-58... I'm not sure the aim is to atritt these things this much.
 

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Part of the Gremlins challenge was the characterization of the aerodynamic environment in the highly turbulent area behind the ramp or the wings with the flaps down or and the props operating. Securing the Gremlins in all degrees of freedom prior to stowage is going to be harder than the single point type of contact of aerial refueling.
Presumably the carrier C-130 could be manned and any hard contact cannot be tolerated.
Silly idea I had:

Use smoke generators, have AI run visual algorithms on resulting video to get flow field and run real time fluid dynamics + more AI -> control inputs, add control surface to the docking point too

*well they tell me compute is cheap~now*

---
Also, perhaps what is needed is to simply move the trap point outside of turbulent air, perhaps further forward and under the mother aircraft. A system of pulleys (or use a bomber) can than get the vehicle back to the bay.
 

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Wake is at the base of the problem that's why I was always flabbergasted that they had a fixed mechanical recovery system.

But we don't have a precise knowledge of what are their real solutions. For such thing, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a bit of deception.
 
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_Del_

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Since the Gremlins are already parachute equipped, perhaps just use the old MAR technique like they used for the Firebees and Corona, etc
 

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I'd be looking at rolling the gremlin upside down and use a vacuum sucker dangling from a stabilised unit (as they seem to already have) to attach to the generally flat undersurface. Drag it up to the carriage and then bring it in.

This all seems like a long and slow process though, whichever way you chop it. That carriage is going to take quite a while to cycle. What are we thinking, 6 gremlins per hercules?
 

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Program goals specified a certain number of captures per unit of time...don't quote me on that but it was something like one every four minutes. It was enough that you would need to have reasonably fast and reliable capture mechanism.
@_Del_ : I think the operational advantage of Gremlins is that a mothership can carry the small vehicle to the edge of where it's needed and retrieve it, so it doesn't need to be sized to have long cruise segments back an forth from the combat area. With MARS you could still drop the vehicle from a Herc or other mothership, but you would have to recover in friendly territory.
@shin_getter : Indeed, i think most teams tried to move the recovery point below the ramp, to at least avoid fuselage turbulence. I don't know how much you would have to move it further forward to avoid wing downwash, which at low speed and high lift coefficient tends to curve downwards quite a bit. The Gremlin vehicles most likely have lower wingloadings than typical aerial-refueled platforms, so they probably get tossed around quite a bit (my speculation).
 

_Del_

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With MARS you could still drop the vehicle from a Herc or other mothership, but you would have to recover in friendly territory.
I don't envision much appetite for risking a Herk mothership in contested airspace, even were it possible. The advantage of the docking approach over MARS is probably speed in recovery of multiple Gremlins. If it works.
 

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Think also that there is a mass constraint with MARS. While heavier payload in theory are more stable, something you'd need when you align your helicopter on the right axis before catching the chute's canopy, lighter ones will balloon with thermals and move sideway on an unpredictable manner.

Given the history and heritage of Kratos, I haven't an ounce of doubts that MARS was not even discussed before they closed in on a design.
 

_Del_

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No reason not to use the same C-130 as the recovery ship. Just aim for the flags on the chute line and hook it between horns like the STARS system.
 

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