Taking into account the arguments that he uses DARPA To carry out this project and spend many thousands of dollars in its development, the current quadcopters are ideal for taking aerial photographs and even for racing but their small propellers do not make them interesting for much more serious work such as military missions and even for humanitarian aid where unmanned aircraft are used that closely resemble certain current aircraft.
Far from all this, the truth is that it is proven that, at least today, fixed-wing aircraft can fly much further and carry heavier loads, which makes them ideal for certain missions. Unfortunately, they also have characteristics within their architecture that weigh them down a lot, such as the fact that they cannot take off or land vertically like the quadcopters themselves or certain hybrid projects where the concept of fixed wing and several engines are mixed in the same machine.
Project SideArm is the solution that DARPA is looking for to get its military fixed-wing drones to take off and land without the need for a runway.
To try to solve this problem in DARPA they decided to bet on the solution that it offered them Aurora flight sciences under the name Project Side Arm where, in its preliminary engineering report, we are literally told of “a portable and autonomous device capable of horizontally launching and recovering unmanned aircraft weighing up to 900 pounds in trucks, ships and facilities located on land. Undoubtedly a quite interesting solution since it will make a military fixed wing drone can land anywhere.
As you can see in the video located right at the beginning of the extended entry, basically what has been developed is a mechanism capable of making a drone fly from a static position using a technique very similar to that used to throw a stone with a sling while, to catch them, another very well-known technique is used and similar to that used by aircraft carriers to make the fighters land on their short runway.