U.S. military famousthe active use of unmanned aerial vehicles around the world. Therefore, the Agency for Advanced Military Development DARPA is constantly funding new projects to create effective drones. One of these devices, manufactured by Dynetics under the Gremlins program, was classified by the military as the X-61A device.
US aircraft classification principlebased on the fact that any devices of value to military aviation and space receive the designation X, starting in 1947. Since then, the military has tested 67 types of unique aircraft, which include both automatic remote control and pilot control.
The main goal of the Gremlins program is tothe creation of cheap drones capable of conducting team, group operations. X-61A flocks will be launched from B-52 Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer bombers, C-130 Hercules / Super Hercules transopters at an altitude of 12.2 km. Gremlins drones are capable of speeds up to Mach 0.8 (980 km / h) and will carry reconnaissance equipment and electronic warfare systems.
X-61A drone specifications will allowcontrol the territory with a radius of 555 to 926 kilometers for 1-3 hours. Then the drone returns to the plane for recharging. Without maintenance, Gremlins must complete up to 20 flights.
Drones will be able to "collaborate" with each other,redistributing a combat mission depending on the actual situation. Communication between individual flying objects is carried out via radio channels and using the optical system necessary to operate under the conditions of the operation of the electronic suppression system of the enemy.
Developers give a few arguments inthe benefit of the collective work of the drone pack. First of all, the efficiency of the combat mission is significantly increased, and the redistribution of functions within the group allows you to replace downed drones and integrate backup drones. Secondly, the appearance of a huge number of aircraft capable of constantly transmitting data significantly complicates the work of enemy air defense.
Currently, developers are preparing large-scaleflight tests, during which the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft will be tested to take on board four returning after completing mission X-61A in 30 minutes. Previous demonstration tests were postponed due to an earthquake that occurred this summer in the vicinity of the US Navy base in China Lake, which damaged the X-61A ground control station.