The Marine Corps has demonstrated the ability of unmanned helicopters to deliver cargo safely to remote outposts in Afghanistan with its test of a pilotless K-Max helicopter developed by Lockheed Martin which can tote a 6,000 pound load dangling from a sling.
Now the service is looking for an unmanned and autonomous system that can deliver up to 500 pounds of cargo from ship to shore autonomously, meaning that unlike the K-Max, this bird will not require a remote pilot on the ground.
The Marines said they are looking at a vertical lift system, but would also entertain other ideas. When we reach the stage that robo-choppers deliver supplies to robo-troops, this will cut the supply dictum to deliver “beans and bullets” in half.
Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.