TALONS: Automated Parafoil System Extends Naval Communications
DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated a prototype of a low-cost, fully automated parafoil system designed to extend maritime vessels' long-distance communications and improve their domain awareness. Towed behind boats or ships, TALONS could carry intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and communications payloads of up to 150 pounds between 500 and 1,500 feet in altitude - many times higher than current ships' masts - and greatly extend the equipment's range and effectiveness. TALONS is part of DARPA's Phase 1 research for Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. Following successful testing, DARPA may potentially transition TALONS technology to the U.S. Navy.