AdamWorks News

Leidos flight test demonstrates new modular military pods

The Leidos Aerial Multi Mission Pod (AMMP) loaded on a Douglas DC-3 test aircraft on June 7 in Pendleton, Ore. Photo: Leidos


As reported in by Brandon Buckner

Leidos in June completed a flight test that demonstrated the airworthiness of its new military pods, which can attach to a wide variety of aircraft, deploy drones, navigate without GPS signals and more.

Why you should know: These adaptable pods can expand the U.S. military’s mission capabilities without expensive new or reconfigured platforms.

The flight test, which took place in Pendleton, Ore., was conducted on a retired Douglas DC-3 airliner.

The team successfully released an ALTIUS-600 drone multiple times from the pod in-flight, transferred control from the host aircraft to a ground operator, and located and tracked a ground vehicle using the drone’s electro-optical payload.

  • “The ability to launch these drones ahead of an aircraft extends your mission capabilities forward,” says Leidos expert Chris Jones, “capabilities which can greatly enhance a variety of missions from ISR to search and rescue.”

The test also demonstrated the effectiveness of the Leidos Assured Positioning Navigation and Timing (APNT) system, housed within the same pod, which helps pilots navigate using visual clues on the ground if GPS signals were jammed by an adversary.

  • “There are so many new capabilities our customers want on their aircraft, but they don’t necessarily want a new plane or an expensive reconfiguration,” says Leidos expert Eric Chynoweth. “These pods can be reconfigured with a variety of new capabilities without going back to the drawing board, spending millions to modernize the aircraft’s structure, or building a new plane altogether.”

Looking ahead: Chynoweth said his team can fit other payloads into the pods based on the needs of a particular mission, including radar alert systems and cognitive electronic warfare capabilities.

He said his team hopes to next conduct flight tests with the pod attached to active military aircraft.

  • “These podded solutions are about creating better platforms and expanding the mission capabilities of our warfighters,” he said. “This flight test and others to follow are major milestones that demonstrate how these pods could help address many immediate needs of our customers.”