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DARPA gives Northrop Grumman nod to develop unmanned VTOL flying wing for small US Navy ships

DARPA has revealed more details of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (Tern) program that aims to turn smaller US Navy ships into miniature aircraft carriers for Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV). Phase 3 of program to develop a tail-sitting flying wing designed to take off and land vertically from destroyers and other small ships was awarded to Northrop Grumman, which will build a full-scale demonstrator for sea trials.

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Northrop Grumman set to develop tail-down UAV for DARPA's Tern program

The competition to fulfill DARPA's plan to turn US Navy destroyers and frigates into drone-launching aircraft carriers seems to be over as Northrop Grumman has unveiled its version of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (Tern) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Based on the flying wing design, the Tern UAV lifts off vertically in a tail-down configuration and is designed to operate from the decks of smaller surface ships in the US Navy without the need for aircraft carrier-type runways.

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Students create a human-carrying multicopter

This year, we've seen a number of important developments in the race to bring personal flyers to market. A team of flying enthusiasts from Hungary took to the skies in a proof of concept tricopter named Flike in March, Malloy Aeronautics announced plans to develop its Hoverbike for the US Department of Defense at the Paris Air Show in June, and the JB-9 made its maiden flight around the Statue of Liberty just last month. Now a team of students from Singapore has joined the fray with a battery electric multicopter called Snowstorm that's being designed for recreational flying.

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Unmanned helicopter and drone join forces in safer approach to fighting fire

Attacking out of control forest fires from the air with manned helicopters and planes is a technique that has been used for decades, but we are now starting to see what their unmanned cousins have to offer. In a recent demonstration, Lockheed Martin has shown how the unmanned K-MAX helicopter can combine with a quadcopter to battle blazes below. And critically, it did so while keeping Air Traffic Control informed of their every move.

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Joby's wild 16-rotor convertible aircraft for long-range, high-speed, electric VTOL commuting

Personal electric VTOL (vertical take off and landing) commuting may not be far off, thanks to accelerating improvements in battery technology. Joby Aviation has put forward an incredible two-seater plane concept that uses 12 tilting electric propellers to provide multirotor-style balanced VTOL capabilities. Once it reaches cruising speeds, these rotors fold away into aerodynamic bullet shapes, and the aircraft can reach speeds of up to 200 mph (322 km/h) and ranges of up to 200 miles using four additional cruise-optimized props on the backs of the wings and tail fins.

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