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Autonomous resupply gliders will take part in a large-scale US Special Operations Command exercise later this year. The Department of Defense needs to supplement or replace tactical and operational overland logistics. As the battlefield becomes more accessible to all adversaries, Combatant Commands have identified the need to establish and sustain logistical operations in contested and denied operating environments.
The DoD has awarded Silent Arrow with a $2.2M contract to execute a series of operational demonstrations and develop concepts of operation (CONOPs) for the company’s GD-2000 autonomous resupply gliders.
The GD-2000 UAS platform was selected for a DoD, Warfighter Lab Incentive Fund (WLIF) contract with a 12-month period of performance beginning in Q1 2022, according to the company’s announcement.
The GD-2000 cargo glider is described as a disposable “standoff delivery platform” capable of delivering up to 1,631 pounds of cargo while navigating and landing autonomously.
The glider has a range of 40 miles when dropped from a fixed-wing aircraft at a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet, or 15 miles when dropped when from a helicopter. The company says the GD-2000 can land within 100 meters of its intended target with “zero vertical impact” and make deliveries at less than half the cost of the existing Joint Precision Airdrop System, or JPADS, according to thedrive.com.
The Special Operations warfighter will have tested these cargo delivery drones on special-purpose aircraft, standard cargo aircraft, and helicopters, both overland and in maritime environments.