Towed Air-borne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS)
MAPC is currently performing tasks under DARPA contract, including the development, fabrication and testing of Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS). TALONS is capable of towing payload systems to altitudes of 1000’ feet or more while maintaining wired bidirectional communications with the ship and powering the payload via the tether. The system is effectively a stabilized 1,000 ft. tall ship mast, capable of performing ISR, communications relay, and more from large or small vessels. UAV payloads can be integrated to produce performance similar to a safe and controlled organic UAV from even the smallest vessels in the Fleet.
Most recently, MAPC just completed a successful demonstration onboard the Navy’s unmanned surface vessel, ACTUV:
DARPA Press Release on TALONS, November 2016
MAPC has been involved in the use of soft wing parafoils to lift equipment from boats since the 2010 Jetski-Towed Airborne Parafoil (JTAP) program. The JTAP program developed a personal watercraft (PWC) that functioned with a human operator, providing a switch for that operator to engage an autopilot, which lifts and tows them up to 1,000 ft under the parafoil. The operator would then separate from the tow line and glide to a location inland while the PWC returns to a predetermined location.