Navy could tow parasails to extend range of communications and electronic surveillance
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has successfully tested a towed airborne lift of naval systems (Talons) prototype.This is a clever idea. The only downside I see to it is it might increase the visibility of the ship to an enemy force. But there would certainly be times when the benefits would outweigh the negatives.
Talons is designed to extend maritime vessels' long-distance communications and improve their domain awareness.
According to DARPA, this low-cost, fully automated parafoil system can be towed behind boats or ships and also can be deployed by hand from smaller boats, or by mast from larger ships.
The system will be capable of carrying intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications payloads of up to 150lb between 500ft and 1,500ft in altitude, which is higher than current ships' masts.