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DARPA LongShot concept

DARPA Taps General Atomics, Lockheed, Northrop to Design UAVs for Air-to-Air Weapon Engagement

General Atomics, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) have received separate contracts from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to design air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles that can deploy multiple weapons.

All three companies will conduct preliminary design efforts under the first phase of DARPA's LongShot program to potentially demonstrate a novel system capable of supporting aerial threat engagement missions, the agency said Monday.

DARPA said the project's goal is to reduce survivability risks for manned fighter aircraft and plans to host a demonstration of a full-scale controlled flight system if the project moves into the later phases.

Lt. Col. Paul Calhoun, a DARPA program manager, said the agency intends for LongShot to serve as an alternative capability for air combat missions.

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