Pentagon Creating ‘Vampire-Like’ Drones That Disappears in Sunlight
The Pentagon is hoping to come up with a super-stealth, vampire-like drone that can drop payloads to American forces in war zones — then disappear by the crack of dawn.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has put out bids to design the ambitious $8 million, 26-week project for “vanishing air delivery vehicles.”
Called Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems, ICARUS takes its name from the boy in the Greek myth whose feather and wax wings melted when he flew too close to the sun.
“[T]hey want a drone that disappears in a cloud of smoke — like a ‘True Blood’ vampire being kissed by the sun,” Defense One reports.
The agency is aiming to develop a drone that can drop deliveries to personnel in hard-to-reach regions that won’t require clearing away a landing spot — and then finding a place to hide the aircraft.
According to the specifications, the unmanned aircraft has to be able to travel 93 miles and drop packages weighing less than 3 pounds onto a target measuring no more than 33 feet.
“The vehicle’s physical disappearance is part of its mission specification,” the description states, adding it must “fully vanish within four hours of payload delivery or within 30 minutes of morning civil twilight (assuming a night drop), whichever is earlier.”
DARPA is also requiring designers to ensure that pieces of the craft — after it’s disappeared — aren’t visible to the naked eye, and may not exceed the approximate size of a grain of sand, according to the bid proposal.
According to Defense One, the agency is building off early success with their Vanishing Programmable Resources, or VAPR, program.
But DARPA wish list for drones sturdy enough to fly and carry payloads and then vanish into thin air is a tough one, acknowledging its plan as posing “a significant technical challenge.”