Print 52 comment(s) - last by Donovan.. on Mar 18 at 11:42 AM

  (Source: U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Ricky J. Best)
USMC looks to utilize UAVs to help resupply soldiers in remote areas

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) overseas has normally involved smart bomb launches or reconnaissance, but the U.S. Marine Corps is developing a new UAV that will be able to help re-supply combat forces overseas.

The Marines are working with developers to create a new UAV that is able to carry up to 1,200 pounds of supplies on each flight, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John Amos, recently said to the House appropriations Committee's subcommittee focused on defense.

"I'm looking for something now," Gen. Amos said to the subcommittee.  "We want to get a solution into Afghanistan by this summer."

Both the Marine Corps and Army have noticed an increase of injuries related to the heavy amount of weight soldiers deployed overseas must carry, an Army official recently said.  The combat gear weighs up to 130 pounds, and a higher number of soldiers are being hurt by stress fractures, pulled muscles and other issues.  This issue is especially problematic as soldiers prepare to be deployed to Afghanistan, where they'll have to deal with rough terrain, mountains, and bad road conditions.

The UAVs, which the USMC hopes to have by summer, will help transport ammunition, food and water, and batteries to ground troops on patrol in remote areas.

The U.S. military has been thinking about possible ways to help soldiers, and UAV development has prospered since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The smaller craft are silent and fast, which makes them good for reconnaissance, but larger ones can be used to drop supplies or weapons.  The BBC published a brief list of commonly used UAVs by British and American troops in the Middle East.

Precision air drops used by the Army have been able to deliver as much as 26,000 pounds of supplies per day to troops deployed.

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By jadeskye on 3/13/2009 8:12:04 AM , Rating: 5
I'm no military buff but surely this is so easy now it must be trivial.

Current generation UAVs are capable of flying themselves, often carrying loads in missiles and CCTV equipment.

wouldn't it simply be a case of taking a current UAV (predator?) and modifying it with a supply bay to parachute out or something to that effect?

RE: Easy?
By ebakke on 3/13/2009 9:24:12 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed, it seems like a very logical extension of the original UAV capabilities. Frankly, I'm surprised they haven't been doing this for years.

RE: Easy?
By quiksilvr on 3/13/2009 2:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
Three guesses why.

RE: Easy?
By DASQ on 3/13/2009 4:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's the military, It's the military, and it's the military.

Am I winrar?

RE: Easy?
By Chillin1248 on 3/15/2009 12:24:12 PM , Rating: 3
In the Israeli Army we came up for a solution for this years ago... wait for it... wait for it:


They are somewhat easy to control, can cary very heavy loads across rough terrain and make good bullet barriers (they do not get startled by gunfire).

Then again you better treat them right.


RE: Easy?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/16/2009 11:38:43 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Easy?
By afkrotch on 3/16/2009 5:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but I'd rather have a UAV that will drop your supplies and also fire missiles at your enemies.

Not to mention after one supply drop, you can have the UAV load back up at the base and send it off to drop off more supplies.

Llama isn't going to walk back to the base to get resupplied for ya.

RE: Easy?
By Donovan on 3/18/2009 11:42:51 AM , Rating: 2
Then we just need llamas that shoot laser beams out of their eyes!

Oh man, that would be so frickin' awesome.

RE: Easy?
By quiksilvr on 3/15/2009 1:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
You know how diamond makers keep extra diamonds away from the public eye so that the price of the diamonds go up to keep it rare and expensive? Similar concept. They have the technology, but sat on it for a while beforehand so as to justify more money to be spent on the war. But now that the economy is collapsing, they flooded the military with this technology because they aren't getting as much money as before.

RE: Easy?
By bhieb on 3/13/2009 10:28:50 AM , Rating: 3
What I think they should push too is an unmanned "4 wheeler" type device that can off load some of that 130 pounds that is not always needed, but good to have close. I saw one on a discovery program, but quite frankly I don't see why it had to be so complex a simple low profile remote controlled cart would be nice. If you want to get fancy have a rfid or something that it can lock on to and just follow X feet back. I'm not talking covert ops here, but regular patrols where stealth is not a major concern.

RE: Easy?
By grcunning on 3/13/2009 11:29:30 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Easy?
By Orpheus333 on 3/13/2009 2:04:10 PM , Rating: 2

creeps me out for some reason, the legs are just eery

RE: Easy?
By Bubbacub on 3/13/2009 3:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
they creep me out too - its because their movement is very close to looking like that of biological legs. its freaky.

i don't know what that noise was - artefact? or a lawnmower engine?

RE: Easy?
By Cypherdude1 on 3/15/2009 4:59:04 AM , Rating: 3
i don't know what that noise was - artefact? or a lawnmower engine?

That's not background noise. That's the actual device. Its power source is a gas-driven engine. It makes enough racket to alert every insurgent for a one mile radius. I'm sure no combat unit or even supply mission would want it near them.

RE: Easy?
By Smartless on 3/13/2009 2:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
I second that emotion. And somehow, robots with tank tracks and machine guns don't....

RE: Easy?
By talikarni on 3/14/2009 10:26:46 AM , Rating: 2
That one is very cool but I like the spider looking one as well.

there are a few others but I like how this one looks....

RE: Easy?
By Murloc on 3/13/2009 2:55:08 PM , Rating: 3
it's too easy to stop it and take the weapons.

Free modern weapons for terrorists instead of cold war soviet guns!

And running over rocks and rough terrain is difficult, and if it stops you can't do anything.

A UAV just flies.

RE: Easy?
By Bubbacub on 3/13/2009 3:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
hmmn i think they got plenty of cold war american weapons too.....

RE: Easy?
By omnicronx on 3/13/2009 11:24:07 AM , Rating: 2
Carrying an extra payload is anything but trivial. I really doubt they can merely add on an additional ~100 lbs without making major design changes.

RE: Easy?
By rcc on 3/13/2009 1:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
I believe his point was that it is just another payload. If you have a UAV that can carry a pair of smart bombs, you can attach equipment canisters in their place, perhaps with GPS or RF guidance, and just drop them in the approximate location.

Indeed, if the Marines are looking at having anything in operation by this Summer, they are anticipating a very trivial modification, if any, to the dropping platform.

RE: Easy?
By grath on 3/13/2009 2:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
People are probably thinking of the Predator UAV, which carries two relatively small missiles and would not be able to provide a sufficiently useful resupply payload.

The larger UAVs such as the Reaper are far better suited for this application, wiki puts their payload capacity at 3,750 lb (1,700 kg), which well exceeds the target 1200lb payload stated in the article.

Of course, this is the military, government, and defense contractors we are talking about here. Since when are they disposed toward making efficient use of an existing system rather than pumping funding into the contractor to develop a new and somewhat redundant system? To quote the movie Contact "First rule of government spending: why build one when you can build two for twice the price?"

RE: Easy?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/16/2009 11:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
They can mod the bomb bay, and remove some of the ancillary equipment used for ordnance, perhaps. Put the payload in a bomb shaped carrier with a chute. They could even use some of the smart bomb capabilities to target where they need the drop in tactical situations. Much better than Llamas! Rrrrrrrrrrrrr-llamas!

RE: Easy?
By inperfectdarkness on 3/14/2009 12:37:58 AM , Rating: 2

c27j modified to fly remotely. MUCH better idea than creating a new UAV from the ground-up.

can i get a promotion now?

lawn mower
By iamted on 3/13/2009 8:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
"The smaller craft are silent and fast" now this was in '04 but i was in the army where they were training opperators of these things and silent wasnt the word that came to mind. it sounded like a big mower taking off and had to make about 5 passes to get to the altitude that they were being used. and the fast part, hmmm faster then most remote control planes sure, but i dont think they have jet engines on them, but that was 5 years ago.

maybe the training ones are from first gen uavs, and the ones they use now are better equiped, wouldnt suprise me.

RE: lawn mower
By emoser96 on 3/13/2009 9:14:04 AM , Rating: 5
"The smaller craft are silent and fast" now this was in '04 but i was in the army where they were training operators of these things and silent wasn't the word that came to mind.

Have you ever heard a jet on the parking pad? Standing 30ft from an A-10 (a relatively quiet jet) at idle, you have to wear double hearing protection and it's still louder than standing 30ft away from a "lawn mower" UAV at max power at launch.

As far as faster, I suspect they mean it's faster than having some convoy come drive out to them, avoid attack, and drop off the supplies. It would also have a faster load up/prep time than a C-130/C-17 if they had to call in for an emergency resupply.

Finally, since these UAVs are tiny (relatively speaking to a cargo plane), they are practically impossible to spot when flying even at low altitudes, which results in a lower equipment drop altitude (read less time for someone else to spot and get to the parachute before you do).

Boston Dynamics Big Dog
By moflaherty on 3/13/2009 11:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
Dern Call of Duty
By shaw on 3/13/2009 2:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
Now everytime I read an article with the words UAV in it I immediately say to myself "OUR UAV IS ONLINE!" Sometimes I accidentally say it outloud to my embarrasment.

By tygrus on 3/13/2009 6:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like the start of a bad joke.

Target practice for the enermy ?

I guess they think that it's easier to get small objets in and maybe low to the ground compared to a big slow supply plane like the old Hercules (can't remember the new model name).

Battlefield 2
By Azsen on 3/15/2009 6:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
Man they had this technology in Battlefield 2 commander mode 3 years ago!

defense spending plan
By iamted on 3/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: defense spending plan
By DigitalFreak on 3/13/2009 8:25:22 AM , Rating: 1
if we dont attack anyone they wont attack us

Are you serious? Granted, Bush's warmongering certainly hasn't made us any friends.

RE: defense spending plan
By themengsk176 on 3/13/09, Rating: -1
RE: defense spending plan
By daman5 on 3/13/2009 8:48:20 AM , Rating: 2
Come on, seriously let's look at history folks. Power mongers will target the people who are looking to avoid all conflicts. Agreed there's no need to go looking for a fight, but if you just sit back and say "Let's just be who we are, and prosper" and then be oblivious to reality and think that no one is going to target you, then you're sadly misinformed on reality. Power, greed and envy unfortunately drive a lot of people/organization/countries in the world, and as long as those three factors are out there, someone looking for a fight will always be out there, trying to ruin the majorities' "good" time.

The appropriate strategy in the 21st century is to move forward and 1st strengthen alliances and form new ones across the globe to ensure the "that bad guy" is squashed before they do any real damage. This can be done either through militaristic or political means, the reality there is that it must a blended attack of the two since there are pockets of criminals all over the globe that must be handled and taken on a case by case basis, since motives and means of implementing those motives are blended threats as well.

RE: defense spending plan
By theapparition on 3/13/2009 9:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
Given that even then, the US doesn't rank in the top 25 of countries military budgets as percentatge of GDP, I'd say that the US's defense budget is too light.

So even after this bad economic recession and depression, the US is still the largest economy in the world, by a long shot. So what? We're not allowed to spend that.

RE: defense spending plan
By nafhan on 3/13/2009 12:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, you have to look at stuff in perspective.

If you had a room full of midgets and a 6ft tall guy steped in, you wouldn't say he was fat because he weighed twice as much as a midget.

RE: defense spending plan
By inperfectdarkness on 3/14/2009 12:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
considering most military pundits believe our defense spending should be ~4.0% of our GDP. this does not include war-expenditures.

and considering that our defense spending is ~3.9% INCLUDING war-expenditures...

i'd say you were 100% spot on with that assessment.

RE: defense spending plan
By Kuroyama on 3/14/2009 11:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
Look down a list of the top defense spenders as % of GDP.

Other than a few small island nations the countries in the top 50 are either dictatorships (gotta repress those peasants), had wars on their own territory in recent times (Israel, El Salvador, Bosnia), or have neighbors they have frequently warred with (such as Greece's love of Turkey). Most fit all three categories.

So, which country on the list were you trying to compare the US to?

RE: defense spending plan
By theapparition on 3/15/2009 6:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
So, which country on the list were you trying to compare the US to?

Let's see.

If you want to compare using cold war rules, the US's defense spending is very close to Russia (ranked 28th and 30th respectively). And let's face it, Russia has been exceedingly hostile towards US interests lately. Also of paramount note, they are the ones supplying all the technical advice and equipment to help Iran with nuclear power.

As for the others on that list, using the more modern: War on Terror, a good portion of the top 25 are either middle eastern countries that don't like us too much (Let's see: Iran, Syria, Yemen et al), or semi-hostile countries like China. Thier combined military expenses certainly constitute a threat to the US.

So the question has to be asked, who on your own link wouldn't you compare to?

RE: defense spending plan
By ccmfreak2 on 3/13/2009 9:08:45 AM , Rating: 3
if we dont attack anyone they wont attack us.

Right.... So, who were we attacking in 2000 and 2001 that led to the death of almost 3,000 inoccent lives in 9/11? And who were we attacking in 1940 and 1941 that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?

RE: defense spending plan
By Tsuwamono on 3/13/2009 9:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno about 2000 but i know in 1940-41 aswell as 1939 USA was selling arms to Germany AND the Allies..

I would think that kind of pissed people off wouldn't you?

RE: defense spending plan
By clovell on 3/13/2009 11:30:36 AM , Rating: 2
It was my understanding that Japan attacked when we stopped selling them supplies.

RE: defense spending plan
By raghavny80 on 3/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: defense spending plan
By rcc on 3/13/2009 1:40:47 PM , Rating: 3
Another history revisionist I see.

Yes, it's all our fault for having ships in the same ocean. Not even particularly close.

FWIW, the only thing that isolationism has ever done for anyone is to let the opposition get a running start on you.

RE: defense spending plan
By msomeoneelsez on 3/13/2009 1:41:40 PM , Rating: 2
I would have to disagree with you, the move of the US pacific fleet was not an aggressive move, but rather a defensive strategy.

As stated by clovell
Japan attacked when we stopped selling them supplies.

The US placed an embargo on Japan, and I believe that was because Japan attacked our allies in Asia, such as China, and the US felt that our trading with them was helping them in their attacks... although it has been a while since I studied that particular part of it, so I may be inaccurate on that part.

Either way, both Germany and Japan had plans to attack the US as a part of their world domination scheme... Hitler just wanted to wait longer than the Japanese did, because he knew the US had such a large manufacturing capacity.

Also, in response to Tsuwamono, it was not the US government, but the free market capitalists who wanted to benefit from the war, and there were attempts by the government to control this action without provoking attack.

RE: defense spending plan
By Zoomer on 3/13/2009 11:44:03 PM , Rating: 2
Particularly fuel oil.

RE: defense spending plan
By themengsk176 on 3/14/2009 5:09:35 AM , Rating: 2
So, who were we attacking in 2000 and 2001 that led to the death of almost 3,000 inoccent lives in 9/11?

Well that was partly due to our unconditional support of Israel, a nation that an entire group of now displaced people regard as an illegal nation. Not to mention our stationing of troops on Islamic holy land.

I can almost guarantee you, that if we hadn't had our bloated military's thumb in every pie from Florida to Pakistan, that we wouldn't have been attacked at all.

RE: defense spending plan
By Raidin on 3/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: defense spending plan
By buckao on 3/13/2009 9:37:21 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, what a genius! It's so simple! In one post on Daily Tech you've found the solution to the 10000 year history of human warfare. Because if you don't attack anyone, they will NEVER attack you...right?

RE: defense spending plan
By emoser96 on 3/13/2009 10:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well, not that I think that what the OP said will ever happen, but if EVERYONE followed that logic, nobody would ever get attacked. Just a thought.....

RE: defense spending plan
By iamted on 3/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: defense spending plan
By Misty Dingos on 3/13/2009 1:18:34 PM , Rating: 3
Ted because I am nice guy and I like to help people I am going to explain something to you.

You will never know world peace. As a species we are incapable of not engaging in conflict with others of our own kind. If you haven't noticed, humans will kill the ones they love the most for the most trivial of reasons. You won’t stop that so how do you think you are ever going to stop the slaughtering of strangers in a far away land that want to kill us for ancient and unsolvable dogma?

The fantasy that everyone on this planet can have some epiphany and engage in productive peaceful dialog is laughable to the extreme.

If however, you have an epiphany yourself and realize that mankind is anything but kind (in nature). You can live with the rest of us in the real world and start working toward a realistic world that those who seek to do us or our friends harm are defeated in those ends. Well that would be great. I would welcome you into the real world.

If however you persist in this delusion that somehow that humans can stop trying to claw, kick, bite, scratch, mutilate, dismember, disembowel and kill their way to the ends they set for themselves, you will be a very sad person for as long as you live.

So there you go Ted. World peace is as much a fantasy as is the unicorn and the tooth fairy. I am glad I could help you out.

The only time we will know peace is when we lay in the grave.

RE: defense spending plan
By msomeoneelsez on 3/13/2009 2:42:31 PM , Rating: 3
Lets hear a group "Amen" please!

Those were my thoughts exactly, thanks for saving my effort to type that.

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