DARPA is a U.S. military research agency meant to think ahead, experimenting on inventions and innovations of the generation after the next one. Back in October I mentioned their TALONS program because it finally offered some graphics and an example of using a towed aerial sensor platform for naval ships.
An earlier and quite famous example was the Fa 330 Bachstelze, a super lightweight one-man autogyro used by German submarines in WW2.
Well, I have gotten access to a book called "The History of the Fleet Air Arm" in the meanwhile, and it turned out that Bachstelze is in no way an early example. Back in 1903 the Royal navy tested kites by some Mr. Samuel Franklin Cody, an inventor, and there were favourable reports about it. More experiments happened in 1907. The problem at the time was apparently the issue of safety in other than very stable wind conditions.
So it's safe to say that TALONS is yet another example of U.S. military-industrial complex pretending to be inventive and innovative when it's not really such a thing. I've seen this happen many times (including pretending that adopting a foreign developed hardware is their own development), which in part may be due to their very large R&D budgets and in part a deliberate attempt to avoid the NIH issue.