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?

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