I hope all of the technical jargon in the title didn’t throw any of the laymen (or laywomen) in the audience too far off. Anyway, until we manage to catch one of those alien tic-tac machines and figure out how to reverse engineer it, our military will be stuck using the tired old technology that we’ve come up with on our own. One development that may be coming down the pike on that front is a recent request from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). They’re asking for millions of dollars in R&D money to develop a “flying gun” for a project named Gunslinger. And it sounds pretty wild. (The Drive)
Tucked away inside the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s most recent budget proposal is a request for millions of dollars to explore what one could best describe as an unmanned flying gun capable of engaging airborne and ground-based targets. This comes around a year and a half after DARPA first announced it was working on what it called a “Flying Missile Rail.” The system would carry its own air-to-air missiles and would be launched like a drone from under the jet’s wing, after which they would fly off and engage aerial targets with their missiles.
DARPA is asking for $13.27 million in its budget request for the 2021 Fiscal Year for the flying gun effort, which it has dubbed Gunslinger. The budget documents say that this is a new program and it is in no way related to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps program of the same name, which developed a system to detect incoming hostile gunfire.
The details are rather sparse, but from the sound of it, what they’re looking for sounds more like a souped-up drone than a missile, though it would be fired from below a fighter jet’s wing like a missile. Once it takes off (far faster than the jet) it could overtake targets both in the air and on the ground and deploy its own missiles and gunfire. Assuming this is practical, it sounds like a major advancement that could potentially keep pilots safer than directly jumping into a dogfight themselves.