General Atomics' Avenger Recovers UAV in Mid-Air

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General Atomics' Avenger Recovers UAV in Mid-Air
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems tested its Aerial Recovery System to catch Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems from an MQ-20 Avenger UAV.

According to the General Atomics press release, the capacity demonstration flight occurred in Utah on September 20, 2023.
The U.S. and Europe are working on aerial systems that can be air-launched and recovered mid-air. The U.S., for example, is known for its Gremlins project, where Dugway Proving Ground in Utah witnessed many trials.
During this demonstration, a Breeze-Eastern hoist outfitted with General Atomics' smart end feature was integrated into Avenger's payload bay. The towline was deployed away from Avenger to the optimal distance for aerial recovery while in flight. The smart end feature wirelessly transmitted its location back to Avenger, confirming its ability to send data to a nearby Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) for aerial recovery.

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In addition to captive transport back to base, the SUAS can be refuelled, recharged, and/or rearmed before redeployed. For days or weeks at a time, aerial redeployment allows UAS like the Avenger or MQ-9A Reaper to serve as mobile command centres for a network of SUAS in a persistent, expansive grid for surveillance, electronic attack, enemy air defence suppression, communication pathways, or joint all-domain mobile command and control.
 

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