CICADA: Close-in Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft

image2_157-11r CICADA is a concept for a low-cost, GPS-guided, micro disposable air vehicle that can be deployed in large numbers to “seed” an area with miniature electronic payloads. These payloads could be interconnected to form an ad-hoc, self-configuring network. Communication nodes, sensors, or effectors can then be placed in a programmable geometric pattern in hostile territory without directly over-flying those regions or exposing human agents on the ground. Essentially a flying circuit board, CICADA has an extremely high packing factor and a very low per-unit cost. Eighteen vehicles can be contained in a six-inch cube. The vehicle is inherently stable in glide.

“The CICADA is dropped from another airborne platform, flies to a single waypoint, and then enters an orbit. It descends in that orbit until it reaches the ground.”

“Many remote sensors are currently hand emplaced,” said Bovais. “The CICADA allows for the low-cost delivery of multiple precision-located sensors without placing the warfighter in harm’s way.”

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Rated: The CICADA on the end of a Tempest UAV ready for deployment

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Rated: The Tempest UAV next to two CICADA modules

Official report: http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2011/autonomous-deployment-demonstration-program-completes-flight-testing#sthash.9eRdUMdm.dpuf