DARPA Initiates Design Work for Air-to-Air Weapons Under the LongShot Program

DARPA has awarded contracts to General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman for the preliminary Phase I design work of the LongShot Program. The LongShot Program involves developing an air-launched unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with the ability to employ multiple air-to-air weapons. The objective is to develop a novel UAV that can significantly extend engagement ranges, increase mission effectiveness, and reduce the risk to manned aircraft.

Current air superiority concepts rely on advanced manned fighter aircraft to provide a penetrating counter air capability to effectively deliver weapons. It is envisioned that LongShot will increase the survivability of manned platforms by allowing them to be at standoff ranges far away from enemy threats, while an air-launched LongShot UAV efficiently closes the gap to take more effective missile shots.

DARPA program manager Lt. Col. Paul Calhoun said that the LongShot program changes the paradigm of air combat operations by demonstrating an unmanned, air-launched vehicle capable of employing current and advanced air-to-air weapons. LongShot will disrupt traditional incremental weapon improvements by providing an alternative means of generating combat capability.

In later phases of the program, LongShot will construct and fly a full-scale air-launched demonstration system capable of controlled flight, before, during, and after weapon ejection under operational conditions.

Click here to learn more about the LongShot program.