"COPTERBOX" FOR MEDS, SUPPLIES

206_Descending_Box.jpgA few weeks back, we looked at the Army's "medical missile" for shooting supplies to wounded soldiers in hot zones. Well, apparently, there's more than one flying first aid kit out there.With funding from the Army, Fayetteville, NC's DropMaster, Inc. has developed a "CopterBox" -- a fast-spinning, cardboard cylinder equipped with rotating blades -- that can be used to airdrop supplies to soldiers in need.206_Updated_CopterBox_Payload_Examples.jpgChuck it out of a helicopter or a plane, and the CopterBox will slow a 60 lb. payload to 34 feet per second. And "since it spins at about 400 RPM, it cuts through trees and always reaches the ground, unlike parachute-based systems," writes DropMaster's engineering director Chase Warren. Plus, the things are cheap, Chase says: just $300 a pop.But right now, the Pentagon ain't buying, Chase complains. Despite a small business grant from the Army -- and nine years of work by "my father, 5 other people and me" -- Chase says the answer has been the same from every branch of the U.S. military he's approached: "We don't have a requirement for your concept. No one has come to us asking for this."THERE'S MORE: The Australian military has been using a similar product for years, notes Defense Tech reader GK. These "heliboxes" have maximum weight of just 7.5 kg, he says, but they're just right for rations, water, and the like.

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