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In 2018, the US Navy identified a need to develop a capability to autonomously deliver cargo with an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to and from ships at sea. Their analysis found that 90% of critical repair cargo delivered at sea by helicopters and V-22 aircraft weighed less than 50 pounds. A VTOL UAS can fill this critical need and free the manned aircraft to perform other higher priority missions.
The Navy has recently granted a contract to PteroDynamics, an aircraft design and manufacturing company that develops vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The company will supply the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) 3 VTOL prototypes for the Blue Water Maritime Logistics UAS (BWUAS) program.
According to the company’s announcement, their models are well suited for operations on ships where windy conditions and tight spaces challenge other VTOL aircraft during takeoffs and landings.