GETTY / DARPAThe US military are developing aircraft carriers for the sky
The huge aircraft will quickly release armies of drones to assault enemy targets before returning to dock with their flying mothership.
A US defence department research agency has fixed a price with two weapons companies to develop the drones, named ‘gremlins’, and expects to conduct a demonstration of the system next year.
The gremlins could be sent high beyond the reach of enemy weapon systems and would cost less than the missiles an adversary would need to shoot them down. The aircraft could also be used up to 20 times.
Gremlins drones would be ejected from the back of a C130 and are able to return to the aircraft after their mission. They are also equipped with bombs, radar and cameras, each with a limit of 60lb and 300-mile range.
GETTYThe proposed gremlin drones would be reusable up to 20 timesRelated articles
The drone programme, launched in 2015 by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), was envisioned to release flocks of small and relatively inexpensive drones deployed from lightly modified fighter jets, bombers and transport planes.
These drones could operate