1-Ton Cargo Delivery Drone to be Tested for USSOCOM

By Naomi Charlton / 15 Nov 2019
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Silent Arrow cargo delivery drone

Yates Electrospace Corporation (YEC) has announced that it has signed a development contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to establish the airworthiness and performance of the company’s 1-ton Silent Arrow autonomous cargo UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). USSOCOM has expressed interest in the platform for missions such as resupplying tactical teams within a hostile environment, resupplying forward operating bases, and delivering critical humanitarian aid and disaster relief without the need to land or place USSOCOM aircrew in harm’s way.

Development is being led primarily by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), with additional operational requirements coming from the U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) for Silent Arrow applications for rotorcraft and other specialized tactical support. USSOCOM will provide YEC with access to aircraft, test ranges and subject matter experts. YEC is also conducting additional flight testing in civilian airspace (Pendleton UAS Test Range, Oregon) from rotorcraft sling-load and fixed-wing aircraft with deployment altitudes from 1,000 feet AGL up to 5,000 feet AGL.

Silent Arrow delivers up to 1,631 pounds (740 kg) of supplies at less than half the cost of the U.S. military’s currently-utilised JPADS (Joint Precision Airdrop System). It also features more than double the glide ratio, improved landing accuracy, zero vertical impact force and greater stealth capabilities. The aircraft features tightly integrated packaging with spring-deployed wings transported inside the fuselage.

Specifications of the USSOCOM Silent Arrow UAS platform include:

Gross Weight: 2,000lbs (907 kg)
Cargo Weight: 1,631lbs (740 kg)
Cargo Volume: 26cu/ft (.75 cu/m)
Glide Ratio: 8.4:1
Stall Speed @1,000lbs: 62kts, @2,000lbs: 92kts
Standoff: 40 miles
Logistics: 28ft wingspan (4 spring-deployed wings) stowed in 2ft x 2ft x 8ft fuselage

Yates Electrospace Corporation CEO, Chip Yates, commented: “This latest contract further validates the U.S. Government’s desire to close capability gaps with innovative commercial solutions from fast-acting companies. We are currently working with our AFSOC partners to conduct several airdrops of the Silent Arrow GD-2000 from various aircraft at medium altitudes in the February-March 2020 timeframe, and at high altitudes (25,000 feet MSL) in April-May 2020.”

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