Cargo Drones

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

A few years ago I was discussing the future of unmanned vehicles with a few colleagues, and we decided it would be a long, long time before UAVs found use in civilian passenger air travel — even if they were, by that point, much safer than airplanes with a human pilot on board. Before that, they’d likely find use in cargo transport — and before that, in military cargo transport.

It looks like the Cargo Drones are here:

The Universal Aerial Delivery Dispenser is an underwing bomb-like pod that can carry as much as will fit in its nearly five foot-long, eight inch-diameter canister. Weighing in at a bantam 40 pounds unloaded, the “U-ADD” as it’s called, can carry a load of ammo, first aid equipment or other cargo to a pre-selected GPS coordinate. After the UAV drops the canister, a parachute deploys to ease its landing.

Textron’s Richard Sterchele said the U-ADD has been tested already on the RQ-5 Hunter, MQ-9 Reaper and works on the RQ-1 Predator, which can carry about 140 pounds under each wing. He said though the Army hasn’t formally bought the system, the spec ops community has expressed an interest in the system’s ability to deliver covert materiel to remote locations with great stealth.

Leave a Reply