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Sparrowhawk attritable drone

The Sparrowhawk aircraft is designed as an airborne launch and recovery demonstrator aircraft tailored to fit GA-ASI platforms, and is focused on Advanced Battle Management System’s attritableONE technologies. Sparrowhawk iterates on the DARPA Gremlins Program to further airborne recovery of sUAS, reducing the cost of operation and enabling new mission capabilities to GA-ASI’s MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft. The United States has conducted flight tests of an attritable drone that can be launched from another unmanned aerial vehicle. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) conducted captive carry Sparrowhawk Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) flight demonstrations on September 16-17, 2020.

The Sparrowhawk sUAS was carried on a MQ-9A and controlled exclusively using GA-ASI’s Metis Software Defined Control Station hosted on a laptop computer, which drastically reduced the system’s logistical footprint and supports the vision for interfaces to the aircraft from across the battlefield — without the need for a Ground Control Station shelter or vehicle. Communications were achieved using a fielded meshONE datalink, enabling collaborative autonomy capabilities among the platforms. The Cooperation in Denied Environments (CODE) autonomy engine was implemented to further understand cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing for unmanned systems.

The test flights build on the capabilities demonstrated when Gray Eagle carried two Area-I Altius-600 Air Launched Effects (ALEs) during Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) demonstrations, underscoring GA-ASI’s commitment to expanding the capabilities of its aircraft.

The drone, called Sparrowhawk, was installed on the MQ-9 Reaper. The small Sparrowhawk drone can not only be launched, but also caught in flight. In a recent test in September, the drone was lifted into the air using an MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle. Sparrowhawk hasn't been launched yet. However, such a test was also important: it will determine how the system copes with the loads during flight.

The Sparrowhawk drone has a large main wing. When folded, it is parallel to and below the fuselage. Also, the drone has a V-shaped tail unit. It is not yet clear what type of power plant is used in the apparatus. Reduced acoustic and visual signatures are cited as benefits of the Sparrowhawk.

The SparrowHawk weighs about 90kg (200lb), can carry a payload of about 13.6kg (30lb) and would have a 200 mile [175 nm / 320 km] range. General Atomics initially declined to reveal the aircraft’s turbine engine manufacturer or thrust rating.

Although it is being developed with the MQ-9 in mind, General Atomics says it is not a program of record with the USAF. Instead, the development effort is being funded with internal research and development money. SparrowHawk derives from the company’s failed bid for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Gremlins program, which was won by Dynetics.

A sparrowhawk is a species of small hawk. Sparrowhawks spend more time hunting in habitats where prey availability is high and the chance of success is greatest. They are not built for stamina and long chases, though they have the ability to manoeuvre in pursuit better than any other raptor. In order to be successful they have to be able to approach their prey closely and undetected. Sparrowhawks rely on the element of surprise and as such will often follow a regular route to get close to potential prey, which in gardens means using the cover of a hedge or shed.

Sparrowhawks are small, broad-winged raptors with long tails and long, thin yellow legs. Adult males have slate-grey upperparts and fine rufous barring underneath. Female sparrowhawks are about twice the weight of males, one of the largest differences between sexes in any bird of prey. As a top predator, sparrowhawks can only thrive if their prey is present in good numbers and has a healthy population. Sparrowhawks remove the most vulnerable individuals, so those with the best escape tactics survive. The sparrowhawk has no serious predators itself, although its chicks and fledglings are taken by pine martens and goshawks.

The US Navy Zeppelin ZRS-5 at Moffett Field. The airship was built with a rigid hull made of aluminum alloy and was kept aloft by 12 large, helium-filled cells inside the hull. The zeppelin was 785 feet long and uniquely designed to carry five single-pilot Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk biplanes that could be released and retrieved in mid-air using a special skyhook-trapeze mechanism. The Navy planned to use the Macon and its Sparrowhawks as long-range reconnaissance for the Pacific Fleet, warning Navy battleships of distant threats from air and sea.

The Urban Dictionary notes that "Sparrowhawk" is "The absolute worst variation of a joke that could ever, in all existence and time, occur. Usually performed by a specific person, see retard, hairy for more details. If you succeedingly accomplish a sparrowhawk, also identified as a "SH," surrounding persons are free to completely silence, injure, or at greater extents permenantly damage/disable the Sparrowhawk-er. A sparrowhawk could possibly be compared to a dud, joke assasin, only multiplied to an extreme extent."

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:24 ZULU