The U.S. military uses unmanned aerial vehicles of all sizes from the 4-pound, hand-launched Raven to the 15,000-pound Global Hawk that takes off and lands on a runway.
Most of the military’s mid-sized drones are fixed wing, which means they need launch and recovery mechanisms that often aren't available in the remote areas the UAVs are most useful.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Aurora Flight Sciences recently tested a portable horizontal launch and recovery system that can capture a UAV up 1,100 pounds. The SideArm basically snatches a UAV out of the air to recover it without damage.
The SideArm fits into a standard 20-foot shipping container for easy transport and can be set up by two to four people.
Watch it in action: