The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to California-based Yates Electrospace Corporation (YEC) for its ER-700 cargo delivery drone.
Officially described as “Airborne Drone Delivery Network and Method of Operating Same", the patent involves the (Electric, Reusable, 700 lbs. payload) ER-700 drone which allows operations from improvised airstrips as well as via airdrop from a variety of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.
Earlier this year, YEC received a U.S. Government contract to build and fly ten of a closely-related cargo drone, the tandem-wing Silent Arrow® GD-700 (Glider, Disposable, 700 lbs. payload),
which will be tested by the United States Marine Corps.
Unlike the electrically-powered ER-700 variant, which can take-off and land from rough airfields, the unmanned Silent Eagle cargo drone can be airdropped from the hold of a fixed-wing (C-130 or similar) or rotary-wing (CH-53 or similar) aircraft from altitudes as high up as 25,000 feet.
‘Silent Eagle’ offers different application possibilities
Up to 700lb of cargo can be carried in the body of the container look-alike whose boxy, slab-sided fuselage acts as its own hard shell shipping crate - further reducing manufacturing and procurement costs (each unit is set to sell for under US$10,000).
The glider components are delivered within the fuselage itself and installed when the vehicle is readied for launching. This process involves the addition of a forward and aft wing main plane pair as a pyramidal nosecone.
The result is a "streamlined" twin-winged vehicle capable of gliding down to the earth's surface under complete silence.
YEC said in a statement that the Silent Eagle cargo drone is currently undergoing ground testing and certification is planned for a near-future date. In late-2018, the aircraft is expected to be dropped out of the hold of a USMC MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.
Apart from its military applications, YEC said the Silent Eagle could also be used for humanitarian relief activities because of its ability to reach far-off, inaccessible areas.
Nol van Fenema