An artist's rendering shows how DARPA officials envision the TERN unmanned air system operating from a Navy ship. (DARPA) ()
DARPA has picked AeroVironment as the prime contractor to develop a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV designed to operate from small ships. The $2.3 million contract is part of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program to create persistent ISR capabilities. Sierra Nevada Corp. will subcontract to AeroVironment on the project, which is valued at $2.3 million.
TERN is aimed at creating a UAV that can carry payloads of 600 pounds while operating up to 900 nautical miles from the launch vessel, which could comprise multiple ship types such as the littoral combat ship 2 (LCS-2) class ships.
“We are excited to have been selected by DARPA and about what this signifies for the future of the UAS industry,” said AeroVironment Senior Vice President Roy Minson. “TERN represents an entirely new category of UAS that has the potential to meet the evolving needs of customers for ISR capabilities.”