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General Atomics Air-Launched Armed Drone Program Nears Critical Design Review

General Atomics is set to complete the LongShot air-launched armed drone program phase 2 in early 2023.

The company is wrapping up the program’s detailed design, which will be followed by ground tests demonstrating the viability of key subsystems.

The company earlier completed multi-body wind tunnel testing of the air vehicle and air-to-air weapon separation.

Flight Tests in 2024

Phase 2 will conclude with the critical design review in early 2023, paving the way for phase 3, which will include prototype manufacturing and flight tests in 2024.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency selected the company for phase 2 following a successful preliminary design review at the end of phase 1 in February 2022.

Air-Launched Armed Drone Concept

The LongShot intends to expand the range and potency of manned aircraft by pairing them with an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with air-to-air missiles.

The configuration would allow the aircraft to take on enemy assets, such as air defense platforms and aircraft from standoff ranges.

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