Yates Electrospace Corporation’s GD-2000 “Silent Arrow” drones have completed an autonomous cargo delivery operation in the Middle East, carrying over one thousand pounds (453 kilograms) of payload.
In the first overseas deployment of the platform, the operation was conducted as part of a $1.5 million operational evaluation contract.
According to a press release, the undisclosed cargo was placed inside the 26 cubic-foot (0.7 cubic-meter) fuselages of two GD-2000 drones at a gross vehicle weight of 1,518 pounds (689 kilograms).
The gross weight limit of the Silent Arrow is 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms).
Two C-130 transport aircraft were used to deploy the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) over the desert during the operation. The UAVs demonstrated entirely autonomous flight, as well as independent waypoint selection and navigation.
As the aircraft prepared to perform an auto-landing sequence, their autonomous autopilot was able to command and achieve a zero-sink rate flare, enabling the smooth transition from a standard approach attitude to a landing attitude.
The Silent Arrow GD-2000 Drone
Classified as a tandem-wing glider aircraft, the Silent Arrow is an autonomous cargo delivery vehicle designed to provide a “swift and life-saving” aerial resupply response to militaries in emergencies.
The platform was developed to replace the US Marine Corps GPS-steered parachutes (JPADS).
With a wingspan of 8.5 meters (28 feet), the GD-2000 is air-dropped from a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) by a fixed-wing aircraft. It has a stand-off range of 64 kilometers (39.7 miles) and a speed of 62 to 92 knots (114 to 170 kilometers per hour) while carrying payloads.
“As we prepare for mass production, it’s encouraging to see foreign allied governments as enthusiastic about the new capabilities Silent Arrow brings to the warfighter as the US military has been,” Silent Arrow’s CEO Chip Yates said.
He revealed that the company has distribution agreements in place for 37 countries and is working to become “the worldwide standard for airdrop logistics.”