Raytheon’s Unmanned Technology Transforms Commercial Cargo Ships into Aid Delivery Platforms

By Caroline Rees / 18 Jul 2012
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The ParaFoil Air Deliver System

Raytheon has completed the preliminary design phase of the Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) program awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Through the TEMP program, Raytheon is creating an innovative system of modular technologies – including air and sea cargo transport, cargo transfer and onboard support resources – that enable commercial container ships (cargo ships) to support humanitarian aid and other non-combat missions through the use of advanced technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Unlike naval ships, commercial vessels are not designed with the capabilities needed for aid missions. Through the TEMP system, alternative vessels such as container ships could be quickly readied to carry out an aid initiative with limited manpower. The system can be deployed in less than a day and is capable of maintaining mission operations for 30 days or more.

“As we’ve seen through numerous instances over the past several years, the magnitude of humanitarian crises often requires military support. At the same time, many of our country’s naval assets are committed to other missions,” said Joe Biondi, vice president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “With the TEMP system, Raytheon hopes to provide the U.S. Navy with the ability to both address humanitarian aid requirements and keep core naval assets focused on primary warfighting and training missions.”

TEMP System: Air & Sea Cargo Transport, Cargo Transfer, Onboard Support Resources

The TEMP system is made up of a series of key technologies designed to achieve the objective of transforming a commercial shipping vessel into a platform to deliver humanitarian aid. These technologies include:

  • ParaFoil Air Delivery System: Ships traditionally require helicopter pads or landing strips to accept aircraft. The ParaFoil Air Delivery System, developed in partnership with Atair Aerospace and Logos Technologies, was successfully tested in March 2012. ParaFoil is a customized unmanned powered paraglider designed to lift pallets or loads of aid weighing up to 3,000 pounds, with the ability to deliver up to 125,000 pounds per day when multiple vehicles are used as an “air bridge.” The system is able to travel up to 120 kilometers without refueling. It also incorporates a video system capable of recognizing a safe, clear landing zone for precision placement of cargo pallets. Additionally, the ParaFoil can be configured to relay communications and provide geographic information, such as imagery, for up to 48 hours.
  • Motion Stabilized Cranes: Commercial ships on humanitarian missions could struggle with transferring aid cargo, particularly when port access is limited. To address this, Raytheon and Advanced Technology Research developed Motion Stabilized Cranes – a new type of modular, unmanned crane able to move fully loaded containers. Raytheon’s solution is easily transportable; the crane may be disassembled and stored in standard intermodal/ISO containers.
  • Mission Management Modules: Container ships are not designed with the underlying capabilities necessary to support a humanitarian mission, such as mission planning, communications, control of air and sea assets, tracking deliveries and maintaining safe operations. As part of the TEMP system, Raytheon has delivered a series of mission management modules that address these requirements. Each module may be stored in a standard shipping container.
Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact
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