DARPA selects Raytheon for Phase 3 of its CODE program for UAS


DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program seeks to extend the capability of the U.S. military’s existing UAS to conduct “dynamic, long-distance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in contested or denied battlespaces.”

With this in mind, DARPA has selected the Raytheon Company to complete the development of the CODE software during Phase 3.

Up to this point, the CODE program has conducted Phase 2 flight test series with teams led by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and the software open architecture and test-support framework has been validated. The teams completed several flight tests at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California.

​The tests utilized RQ-23 Tigershark UAS modified with CODE hardware and software to control flight direction, altitude, speed, and sensors.

“The Phase 2 test flights exceeded their objectives to stand up the infrastructure, and showed promising progress toward the future collaborative autonomy capabilities CODE envisions,” says Jean-Charles Ledé, DARPA program manager for CODE and acting deputy director of the Agency’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO).

“In Phase 3, we anticipate further expanding CODE capabilities by testing greater numbers of aircraft and highly autonomous behaviors in more complex scenarios.”

Multiple UAS equipped with CODE would navigate to their destinations, so that they could find, track, identify, and engage targets under established rules of engagement. All of this would take place under the supervision of one human mission commander.

Once CODE is fully demonstrated, its scalable capabilities could significantly enhance the survivability, flexibility, and effectiveness of existing air platforms, along with reducing the development times and costs of future systems.