The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a “crowd-sourcing competition,” in which anyone from aircraft enthusiasts to citizen scientists may pitch their ideas for a “rucksack-portable” remotely piloted aircraft. Jim McCormick, DARPA program manager, said the goal is to find an affordable and innovative solution for a needed military capability. The winner will get a $100,000 prize and the chance to work with the manufacturer of the government’s choosing to produce up to 15 copies of the winning design, McCormick said during a recent Defense Department blogger’s roundtable. “And we’re going to give them an opportunity to participate in an exclusive military exercise venue, which is something that, you know, money probably can’t buy. But it’s also in line with our mission to bring emerging technologies and capabilities out and put them in the warfighter’s hands so we can see how well they work,” he said. (McCormick transcript)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.