Dynetics say they have successfully flown the X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicle (GAV) for the first time.
The firm say that the test took place at Dugway Proving Ground near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Testing operations involved one captive-carry mission aboard a C-130A and an airborne launch and free flight of the X-61A that lasted one hour and 41 minutes.
The test objectives included:
· Demonstrating a successful launch of the GAV from the C-130
· Demonstrating a rate capture, wing deployment, cold engine start, and transition to stable, powered flight
· Collecting data on GAV subsystem operation and performance
· Verifying air and ground-based command and control systems, including data link performance and handovers between air and ground control
· Deploying the GAV docking arm
· Demonstrating the flight termination and ground (parachute) recovery of the GAV (demonstration system only – not part of the operational system)
Dynetics say the X-61A flew as predicted with no anomalies, achieving all test objectives that relate to the operational system. At the end of the mission, the engine was shut down and a drogue chute successfully deployed to terminate flight.
To view the flight test video, click here.
Unfortunately, the vehicle was lost during the ground recovery sequence due to a failure to extract the main chute.
Managed out of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, the overarching goal of Gremlins is to accelerate the ability to perform aerial launch and recovery of volley quantities of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UASs).
This test is the next step toward the completion of the program’s Phase 3 demonstration objectives, which include a final flight test to demonstrate the ability to recover four GAVs in under 30 minutes.