All posts by Elizabeth Hines

TALONS: “Exceeding Expectations” on the USS Zephyr

August 15, 2017:  DARPA released a new press release and video about TALONS’ recent demonstration on the USS Zephyr.  For more information about MAPC’s work on the TALONS system, please visit our site!

From the DARPA Press Release:

TALONS Tested on Commissioned U.S. Navy Vessel for First Time

Prototype of low-cost, elevated sensor mast improves ship’s communication range and ability to detect, track, and classify contacts of interest

outreach@darpa.mil
8/15/2017
Image Caption: DARPA’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated its prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast aboard a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel for the first time. The crew of USS Zephyr, a Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship, evaluated the technology demonstration system over three days near Naval Station Mayport, Florida. Click below for high-resolution image.

DARPA’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated its prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast aboard a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel for the first time. The crew of USS Zephyr, a 174-foot (53-meter) Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship, evaluated the technology demonstration system over three days near Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

TALONS demonstrated safe and routine operation from the ship’s deck under a variety of sea states and wind conditions without adversely affecting the ship’s operational capability. In tests, the system significantly improved the ship’s ability to detect, track, and classify contacts of interest. It also increased communications range between the ship and remote platforms such as the Zephyr’s rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

Towed behind boats or ships, TALONS could persistently suspend intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) instruments and communications payloads of up to 150 pounds at altitudes between 500 and 1,500 feet above sea level—many times higher than current ships’ masts—greatly extending the equipment’s range and effectiveness.

“We’re very pleased with the USS Zephyr testing, which showed that a future system based on TALONS could provide operational benefits for even small Navy vessels,” said Scott Littlefield, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO). “In the next year, we will continue our cooperative relationship with the U.S. Navy and work toward fully automating launch and recovery, which would make the system even easier to use on manned vessels and compatible with unmanned surface vessels.”

“Expectations were really exceeded with the ease of not only deployment, but the recovery of the system,” said Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Ingram, commanding officer of the Zephyr. “Beyond the initial launch, it immediately stabilized, and it had a very smooth transition all the way up to altitude. I was very impressed with how stable it was.”

The TALONS test on USS Zephyr built upon a successful joint test last year with DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. ACTUV’s technology demonstration vessel set sail with TALONS as its first payload as part of open-water testing off the coast of California.

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 (ONR).

Image Caption: DARPA’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated its prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast aboard a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel for the first time. The crew of USS Zephyr, a Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship, evaluated the technology demonstration system over three days near Naval Station Mayport, Florida. Click below for high-resolution image.
###

Help us win $25,000 FedEx Grant to help build our Carver Apprenticeship Program!

Please consider voting, MAPC to help us win a $25,000 FedEX Small Business Grant award so that we can support a part-time apprentice mentor to help students at Carver High School learn and have hands-on experiences with CNC machining at our facility! We are maritime engineering firm, built on finding robust solutions to formidable problems in challenging environments. MAPC began in 1986, with just $4,000 and has since grown to an $11-$15M company with products ranging from air-droppable rescue boat (the GARC), buoys, and new Baltimore City Water Taxis for Under Armour. Our commitment to customer satisfaction sets us apart: our products withstand the test of time and are designed to work in the most difficult environments- including waves as high as 25 feet! We lead a city high school apprenticeship program and also work in the renewable energy industry. MAPC would use the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest cash to bring on a part-time trainer/mentor for our apprenticeship program for Carver High School advanced manufacturing program’s graduating seniors. With an aging workforce of engineers, MAPC would like to enhance our training curriculum by bringing on a part-time trainer who will teach CNC machining, welding and advanced manufacturing techniques to make sure our City’s youth are ready for the future job opportunities.