WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- DARPA demonstrated it's Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems, or TALONS, prototype in September, showing how it could carry communications payloads many times higher than a ship's mast.
TALONS seeks to develop a low-cost, fully automated parafoil system to extend a small ship's long distance communications, and improve situational awareness. The equipment is towed behind boats or ships, and is able to carry communications payloads of up to 150 pounds between 500 and 1,500 feet in the air, comparable to the height of a skyscraper.
Research and development for TALONS began in March 2015, followed by field testing in May. Over 20 TALONS flight tests were conducted during that period, testing the system under various weather conditions.
TALONS is part of DARPA's Phase 1 research for Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy. Under this program, DARPA develops and tests new technologies, and transfers the products to the U.S. Navy.
DARPA was created by the U.S. government in 1958 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower to research emerging technologies for the military.