The research arm of the Pentagon — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — is working to develop a drone equipped with air-to-air missiles for extending the reach of fighter jets.

The project, aptly dubbed Project LongShot, seeks to extend the reach of fighter jets by outfitting them with air-launched drones capable of carrying air-to-air missiles.

An illustration of the proposed drone. Source: DARPAAn illustration of the proposed drone. Source: DARPA

So far, DARPA is working alongside General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman on the design of the drones, which are expected to keep manned platforms at a safer distance from enemy threats.

Eventually, DARPA envisions that the drones will be launchable from other military aircraft, ships and even land.

The project is currently in the design phase.

To contact the author of this article, email