The flight took place in November, but Dynetics spoke about it only now.
Dynetics, a member of DARPA’s Gremlins program, talked about the successful first flight of the X-61A unmanned aerial vehicle (Gremlins Air Vehicle or GAV) this week.
The flight took place in November 2019 at a training ground in Utah. His program included transporting on a pylon under the wing of a C-130A, launching in the air and free flight, which lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes. During the tests, almost all of the tasks were successfully completed: launch, deployment of the wing, cold start of the engine and transition to a stable flight were demonstrated. Air and ground control systems were checked, including the data transmission channel and switching between air and ground control, and data was collected on the operation of the GAV subsystems.
As expected, at the end of the flight the engine was turned off and the device began to descend by parachute. However, the main parachute did not open and the X-61A was lost.
Dynetics has four more that will be used in future tests this year.
The Gremlins program involves mass launches of drones from carriers that are in the air beyond the reach of air defense systems. After completing the task, these drones will return to their carrier, which will be able to pick them up in flight and prepare for reuse. In the third phase of testing, the X-61A plans to demonstrate the ability of the carrier to prepare four vehicles for the next flight in less than 30 minutes.