A soldier or Marine running short of ammunition or medical supplies during a battle in the not-too-distant future might not have to wait for a supply truck to bring up more rounds. An unmanned aerial vehicle, better known as a UAV or drone, may be the answer, Army officials said.
The Army and the Marine Corps are reaching out to the UAV industry to help them solve the problem. According to their Request for Information (RFI,) the Pentagon says it wants to have the first units with the Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Supply system operational by 2026.
The system must be rugged and lightweight and able to haul at least 800 pounds of goods during a resupply mission. It must be transportable in a 20 foot container and light enough so no more than four soldiers are needed to carry it. The UAV must be able to carry out a number of automated functions, such as launch, flight, cargo drop and return to base, officials said.
The drone also must be able to negotiate an airspace shared by other aircraft.
It should be able to operate at night and during the day in a variety of weather conditions. The UAV also must be able to execute an abort mission if it detects the situation on the ground isn’t safe, officials said.
Companies interested in taking part in the Army competition have under Feb. 12, 2021, to sign up.