Modern Warfare: DARPA’s smartphone controlled transforming UAV dubbed ARES
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing an unmanned aerial logistics program, code named as Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) that will advanced combat warfare possible. This unmanned transport system will be capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight module operated as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The flight module of this system will have different detachable modules that can be used for any number of war situations like intelligence, surveillance or reconnaissance. ARES is a move ahead from the DARPA’s 2009 program called Transformer (TX) that was aimed at developing all-terrain transportation logistics and tactical support mission systems for ground units.
The aim of this program is to provide flexible all-terrain transportation that is cost-effective and has minimum danger level. The flight module of this vehicle will have independent power system, digital flight control and remotely operated command and control interface. For VTOL the two tilting ducted fans will provide the thrust for landing, take-off and hovering capabilities. Whereas, for high speed flight like an aircraft the vehicle will morph these ducted fans as afterburner. This will make the vehicle take-off and land on airstrips half the size of similar helicopters.
ARES will be capable of performing home base and field missions with its detachable modules designed for cargo pick-up delivery, causality extraction, arms supply etc. Since it would be able to carry 3,000 pounds of load it would be perfect for any type of mission objectives. Interestingly it will be operated from smartphone or tablets using the compatible apps developed for its flight control.
For the final stage of development that is currently under progress, ARES vehicle will be designed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and once the vehicle will be developed the next step will be to make it a semi-autonomous flight system.