DARPA is asking for US$13.27 million in its budget request for the 2021 Fiscal Year for the flying gun effort, which it has dubbed "Gunslinger." Credit: Imgur.com.

It isn’t enough, that nuclear submarines and missiles can destroy the planet several times over. No, never enough.

We need to kill more. Much much more.

Tucked away inside the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s most recent budget proposal is a request for millions of dollars to explore what one could best describe as an unmanned flying gun capable of engaging airborne and ground-based targets — basically, anything that moves.

This comes around a year and a half after DARPA first announced it was working on what it called a “Flying Missile Rail.”

The “Terminator-esque” system would carry its own air-to-air missiles and would be launched like a drone from under the jet’s wing, after which they would fly off and engage aerial targets with their missiles, according to a special report by Joseph Travithick of The Drive

DARPA is asking for US$13.27 million in its budget request for the 2021 Fiscal Year for the flying gun effort, which it has dubbed “Gunslinger,” the report said.

“Gunslinger program will develop and demonstrate technologies to enable an air-launched tactical range missile system capable of multi-mission support,” the Gunslinger entry in DARPA’s budget proposal says. “This system will utilize the high maneuverability of a missile system coupled with a gun system capable of scalable effects and engagement of multiple targets.”

The section does not give any specifics as to the overall size of the weapon system DARPA is envisioning or what type or types of guns it might be capable of carrying, the report said.

It also does not say what types of aircraft would be capable of carrying these gun-armed “missiles” in the future, though it says that the plan would be to ultimately transition the project to the Air Force and the Navy, the report said. 

“These mission sets addressed [by Gunslinger] will include counter-insurgency (COIN) operations, close air support (CAS) and air-to-air engagements,” the budget documents add. “The program will address the system and technology issues required to enable development of a robust missile system considering (1) vehicle concepts possessing the required aerodynamic, propulsion, and payload capacity for a wide operational envelope, (2) the algorithms that support maneuvering and target recognition to enable expedited command decision making for selecting and engaging targets and (3) approaches to incorporating modularity of design to reduce cost throughout the design and development process.”

The use of the word “missile” to describe it strongly implies that DARPA is treating this as an expendable weapon, the report said.

The section on Gunslinger does say that it would have the ability to “loiter” over a part of the battlefield, engaging multiple targets. 

This is something that is very likely to occur in dense urban areas, which the US military increasingly sees as a likely environment for future conflicts.

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