The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) recently launched a pilot program to assess just how useful delivery drones are for hauling critical cargo to surface ships, read a US Navy press release.
NAWCAD engineers and military pilots are set to evaluate a commercially procured logistics Unmanned Air System (UAS) prototype - called the Blue Water Maritime Logistics UAS - for long-range naval ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore cargo transport.
"The Blue Water logistics UAS will be further developed and tested by the Navy, for the Navy," said NAWCAD Commander Rear Adm. John Lemmon.
"NAWCAD has organic talent and facilities you can't find anywhere else. Combined with increased acquisition freedom granted by Congress, this effort shows how we're doing business differently," Lemmon said.
"This requirement is unlike other cargo requirements that online retailers like Amazon are exploring," said Blue Water's project lead, Bill Macchione.
"Naval cargo transport requires vehicles that can successfully operate through difficult environments that include heavy winds, open water, and pitching vessels at sea," Macchione said.
On the modern battlefield, cargo deliveries to warships are usually conducted via boats and or helicopters. The drone will revolutionize the delivery of critical goods to military vessels. Testing starts in early 2021 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
Blue Water logistics UAS can autonomously haul 20 pounds of cargo for a maximum distance of 25 miles.
The announcement of the Blue Water logistics UAS pilot program comes as the Navy recently delivered supplies to a nuclear submarine for the first time using a drone.
Readers may recall, in September, a helicopter drone for private industry flew a 3D-printed part to an offshore gas platform off the coast of Norway.
In the next couple of years, the surge in flying drones will easily disrupt mobility and transportation. As shown above, the military and private corporations are already testing and or have implemented drones into their logistical chains.