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GA-ASI continues DARPA LongShot program support

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) has announced it has been selected to continue support for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) LongShot program. 

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) has announced it has been selected to continue support for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) LongShot program. 

DARPA’s LongShot program aims to change the paradigm of air combat operations by demonstrating an unmanned air-launched vehicle capable of employing air-to-air weapons — it is envisioned that LongShot will increase the survivability of manned platforms by allowing them to be at stand-off ranges far away from enemy threats, while an air-launched LongShot unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) efficiently “closes the gap” to take more effective missile shots.

Current air superiority concepts rely on advanced manned fighter aircraft, like the F-22 Raptor or F-35 Lightning II to provide a penetrating counter air capability to effectively deliver weapons. 

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GA-ASI senior director of advanced programs Michael Atwood said, “GA-ASI is committed to the successful flight demonstration of the LongShot air vehicle.”

After a successful Preliminary Design Review in February 2022 at the end of Phase 1, GA-ASI was selected by DARPA to continue into Phase 2 in March 2022 — during Phase 2, detailed designs are being completed and ground tests conducted to decrease program risk.

A key test event completed early in Phase 2 was the multi-body wind tunnel test, characterising the LongShot air vehicle and air-to-air weapon separation. 

The Critical Design Review for the program is planned for early 2023, which will complete the Phase 2 portion of the program. GA-ASI is currently generating a proposal response for the third phase of the program.

Upcoming Phase 2 ground tests will demonstrate the viability of key subsystems. Meanwhile, Phase 3 would initiate the prototype manufacturing and flight testing phase of the program.

Flight testing is expected to begin in 2024.

GA-ASI, an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator RPA series and the Lynx Multi-mode Radar.

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