A new defense startup has designed a drone recover and launch system that employs vertically mounted pins to trap and release unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The system, which some say resembles a medieval torture device, can grab a drone from a moving platform and release it again without human intervention.
Developed by Target Arm, the Talon device resolves the issue of having to stop a vehicle in order to launch or deploy a fixed wing drone or quadcopter. The operator operates the drone into an enclosure, where upward and downward facing pins mechanically pin the drone in place, keeping the drone from escaping. To launch the drone, the operator simply powers it up and releases the pins. By launching drones from moving vehicles, they can immediately achieve takeoff speed.
Aviation Week & Space Technology, in a profile of the Talon system, says it can seize almost any drone, except for drones with nose-mounted propellers. It can also be modified to land vehicles, ships, at sea, aircraft, and also undersea vehicles. In addition, the company has developed a concept to use it in space.
The system works by touching the pins lightly with just a fifth of an ounce of pressure. The trapping pins apply only a pound of pressure to keep the drone in place, which avoids damaging the drone but brings it to a full stop. Target Arm says Talon can be secured onto almost any platform to deliver a mobile UAV pit stop.
A launch/recovery system like Talon would help the military operate drones under enemy fire. Talon‘s ability to maneuver from a moving vehicle means units can operate drones for scouting missions without stopping to operate them, maintaining their force in battle.
The company will demonstrate Talon to the U.S. Army on Oct. 20 at Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence.