DARPA stays ‘out there’ with FY09 budget request

I’ve taken the bullet on your behalf and ploughed through DARPA’s fiscal year 2009 budget request to look for goodies. Here’s what I’ve found.

New programmes for FY09:

Multi-Modal Missile – manportable surface-to-surface and surface-to-air weapon with direct and indirect fire modes against vehicles, bunkers, helicopters and UAVs.

Small UAV Strike Munition – inexpensive, lightweight precision-guided submunition to be delivered by a loitering weapon launched from an unmanned aircraft.

Stealthy, Persistent, Perch and Stare (SP2S) – a VTOL micro air vehicle based on the Aerovironment Wasp that will land on a perch, collect data and fly home.

FY09 funding for existing programmes:

Heliplane – $16m to demonstrate the tipjet-driven rotor for Groen Brothers’ high-speed gyroplane (assuming they succeed in FY08 in cutting tipjet noise by more than 10dB)

Oblique Flying Wing – $29.6m to begin construction of the unmanned X-plane demonstrator for Northrop Grumman’s supersonic, tailless variable-sweep asymmetric flying wing.

CASTLE – $7.5m to complete preliminary design of a persistent, unmanned gunship to be armed with electromagnetic guns, directed-energy weapons or vertical-launch missiles.

Rapid Eye – $15.9m to complete preliminary design of a rapid-reaction HALE UAV to be rocket-deployed from the US to anywhere in the world in 1-2h for ISR and comms missions.

Vulture – $11m to begin building a subscale demonstrator for a “pseudo-satellite” ISR UAV able to stay on station for more than five years. The demonstator goal is a year-long flight.

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