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A new battle management technology program enables unmanned systems to better form “mesh” networks through air and ground nodes to perform a greater range of functions without needing to have each small move coordinated by a ground-based human decision-maker. 

Distributed Autonomy Responsive Control (DARC) distributes autonomy across a network of vehicles and command centers and better enables battlefield management between manned and unmanned systems, even in non-permissive environments.

Relying upon new applications of autonomy, DARC-infused drones can sustain mission consistency in the absence of GPS or real-time command and control.

Described as “software” by Northrop Grumman developers, DARC in effect pre-programs drones with navigational detail and mission specifics to enable continued operational functionality in denied, jammed or otherwise inoperable environments.

Should an ability to transmit video be compromised by interference or any kind of hostile enemy activity, DARC technology allows an unmanned system to gather, collect, organize and prepare information for decision makers until an opportunity for safe transmission arrives.

On-board computers can, in some instances, utilize machine learning programs to bounce new mission data off of existing information to make rapid determinations of consequence to a mission before sending organized data to commanders.

DARC can also rely upon greater levels of autonomy to allow drone-to-drone connectivity without needing to send data through a ground-based command and control system, according to nationalinterest.org.