On the Way to Solve Acute Problem

PHoto illust US Air FOrce

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Before a military can fight, it has to bring its supplies where it needs them. Russian state-corporate Rostec wants to make a better fleet of cargo drones, including one capable of carrying up to 2,200 lbs.

For initial attacks, this is easier, as the lines of logistics are clean, and planned out. When it comes to resupply, where every pound of ammunition or rations can make the difference between survival and collapse, it is harder. Cargo drones could help with that.

Getting drones to work as regular resupply vehicles means increasing payload capacity.

Building on its BAS-200, Rostec plans a version that can carry up to 440 lbs next, to then be followed by the drone capable of hauling 2,200 lbs. Should Russia get there, it will have a drone capable of not just last-minute delivery of vital essentials, but of doing the long-haul work that makes resupply by air possible.

For a few years in Afghanistan, the US Marine Corps operated two K-MAX helicopters to autonomously carry cargo. With a payload of just under 7,000 lbs, the two drone helicopters managed to deliver a total of 3.2 million pounds. That’s the kind of haul that can sustain operations, though Marines relying on the helicopters were also resupplied by more traditional cargo trucks, according to popsci.com.