?The Defense Advanced Research Agency solicited ideas for making a C-130-type aircraft into a flying mother ship for a swarm of small remotely piloted aircraft, according to an agency release. “We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective,” said DARPA Program Manager Dan Patt. “One promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky,’” he said. DARPA is looking for ideas on possible launch and recovery systems, precision navigation to enable RPAs to take off and land on a cargo aircraft, and plausible uses for such a system, according to the agency’s Nov. 7 request for information. “We envision innovative launch and recovery concepts for new [RPA] designs that would couple with recent advances in small payload design and collaborative technologies,” said Patt. The agency seeks industry feedback by Nov. 26.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.