The U.S. Defense Department is promoting the development of cargo drones to transport military equipment and supplies by air rather than with trucks.
´By using "unmanned aerial vehicles" (UAVs) to transport cargo, Defense officials claim that trucks (which would normally have to be used to transport supplies) can be taken off the road, while
"you also can navigate or circumvent bodies of water without having to send actual forces or troops or ships” to deliver materiel, said Steve Mapes, deputy director for expeditionary operations
in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for energy plans and programs. “What we’re talking about is unmanned aerial vehicles for resupply.”
Mapes disclosed the plans at a National Defense Industrial Association power conference in Cincinnati, Ohio last month.
Operating from vessels
Initially, the UAV’s would be “targeted specially toward the Pacific,” which presents unique logistical hurdles because of its vast size, Mapes said, adding that particularly in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility, "we rely heavily on our joint partners to move equipment and assets from point A to point B. But one of our major defense challenges is just distance.”
As a solution, he envisioned launching supply drones off ships. “We’re talking cargo aircraft that can navigate from a ship-based platform and allow us to navigate that distance without bringing that ship right up to the coast,” he said.
Nol van Fenema
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