16/01/2021

US Army taps industry for autonomous drones to resupply troops

US Army taps industry for autonomous drones to resupply troops – link

Source: Defense News

Article Headlines
  • The U.S. Army is tapping industry for drones that can deliver supplies to infantry brigade combat teams in the field, according to a request for information posted to the federal contracting website Beta.Sam.Gov on Jan. 13
  • Army Futures Command’s Sustainment Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate as well as the Marine Corps’ Capabilities Development and Integration office began looking in earnest at a concept called the “Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Resupply System,” about two years ago with the hope of getting a capabilities development document signed in three years
  • The services plan to field the system by 2026
  • The drone should already be technologically mature to demonstrate capability, weigh less than a Group 3 drone — or less than approximately 1,300 pounds — and be able to haul up to 800 pounds of supplies to the field to provide an organic sustainment capability for infantry brigade combat teams in a multidomain operational environment, according to the request for information
  • The drone should also be able to operate in a 110-mile radius at day or night, and in bad weather conditions, as well as plug into current and future tactical command-and-control systems, the RFI read
  • Setup time to launch a package should take 15 minutes, and two to four soldiers should be able to lift it out of a transport container, the RFI said. This means the system should be lightweight and easy to use, the document explained
  • The drone must automatically launch, navigate in GPS-denied environments, drop cargo, land and return to its point of origin
  • The system should also be able to avoid obstacles and pick optimal flight paths and landing sites on its own, the RFI explained
  • Turnaround time between missions should be minimal, according to the RFI, and the system should be modular and open in order to integrate a variety of payloads and software needed, but it also must be secure from cyberattacks
  • Responses from industry are due Feb. 12
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