posted on Apr, 3 2019 @ 12:22 AM
Haven't seen much on this, and we're due for some news soon (even though the program timeline has slipped substantially). It is fairly ambitious,
but would be a marked force multiplier for Army Aviation. Some technology demonstration has already taken place, and it's being supported by info and
experience from Altius (which is among the coolest things flying around you have never heard about, originally funded by an SBIR contract for dirt
cheap, and that's about all we can say about that -- you won't find much, but it's worth a google).
The idea is to have a tube-launched UAS from helicopters, fixed-wings, or even other drones. And, oh yeah, it is considered high on the wish list that
other variants with high commonality are able launch from surface in support of long-range fire and ground combat vehicles. Artillery, common launch
tubes, shoulder fired, etc. They want plug and play sensors/system payloads so they can mix and match multiple payloads per individual ALE. One
payload for ISR, identifying and locating threats. Say launched from an Apache or LARA in the weeds over a ridge into denied airspace. One payload to
serve as an active decoy. One for EW/EA. They are toying with the idea of recoverable payload packages.
They want it to be highly-autonomous, and to be able to hand off control to and from other aircraft or ground stations. It should be intuitive enough
to control multiple ALE simultaneously without overwhelming the operator(s).
Short term goal is demonstrate launch of four from an Apache in the weeds, and four from an MQ-1C "Grey Eagle" (basically an up-jumped Predator).
Which we should see some movement on in the next few months.
You frequently see it alluded to when the Army is talking about FVL, but I haven't seen anyone really talk about it in other than vague terms. Like a
variety of other smaller programs, there doesn't seem to be much media interest.