Countdown for TERN UAV's first flight May 12, 2016

US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and US Navy’s Office of Naval Research’s joint Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) programme has entered to a third and final stage. Northrop Grumman was chosen to build a full-scale demonstrator system of the medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial system (UAS) with USD93 million contract. The programme aims to launch medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from US Navy surface combatants. The UAV is expected to make its initial flight test in 2018. DARPA’s TERN program and seeks to combine the strengths of both land- and sea-based approaches to supporting airborne assets. Tern envisions using smaller ships as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft (UAVs). The aircraft will have a tail-sitter design, enabling it to take off and land within a small footprint.

Issue 79