U.S. Marines test unmanned cargo-ferrying copters

The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory’s Immediate Cargo Unmanned Aircraft System project team recently tested two composite-airframed unmanned aerial vehicles.

As a part of several innovative programs aimed at revolutionizing war zone re-supply, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory’s (Quantico, Va.) Immediate Cargo Unmanned Aircraft System project team recently tested two composite-airframed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Kaman Aerospace (Bloomfield, Conn.) K-MAX Burro and The Boeing Co.’s (Mesa, Ariz.) A160T Hummingbird, to determine the ability of each concept to support tactical ground and aviation re-supply of Marine forces in combat environments. Marine officials estimate that UAV re-supply flights could replace a convoy of 16 security vehicles and the four re-supply trucks they escort, keeping about 100 Marines off improvised explosive device-laden roads. The lab’s commander, Marine Brig. Gen. Robert F. Hedelund, says the tests at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground have shown that a UAV can successfully deliver 10,000 lb/4,536 kg of gear within a 24-hour period. A decision on the future of the UAV resupply concept is pending.