The Pentagon may soon start turning planes into bona fide Helicarriers for drones. DARPA this week announced that it wants to explore making existing aircraft capable of carrying, launching, and recovering UAVs during missions. The process, it's hoped, could potentially save the Pentagon money spent deploying expensive manned air vehicles and even save lives.
According to DARPA program manager Dan Patt, "We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become ‘aircraft carriers in the sky.'" In order to make this vision a reality, the Pentagon released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking proposals that can be executed in a four-year time frame. The deadline for proposals is November 26th. It's not entirely clear, however, if that's enough time for the guys at Flite Test to design a new concept of their own.