DARPA awards contract for TERN program for long-endurance UAVs launched from small ships

Researchers at Maritime Applied Physics Corp. (MAPC) in Baltimore will help U.S. military researchers develop a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UUV) for long-term maritime surveillance that can launch and recover from relatively small ships to provide airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike mobile targets anywhere, around the clock.

Scientists at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a $2.2 million contract to MAPC this week for the initial phase of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program, which seeks to develop technology to enable small ships to serve as mobile bases for UAVs.

MAPC experts have long experience in developing unmanned vehicles, and helped the Navy prove a concept for an unmanned hydrofoil, company officials say. The company has done research on unmanned surface vessels, personal watercraft, ground vehicles, and sailboats involving sensor fusion, real-time command and control, collision avoidance, and geographic information system (GIS) technologies.

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