Drone Cargo Drops

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First robot planes took pictures of things too far away or in too dangerous an area for U.S. troops to see.

Then they strapped missiles on the drones, firing them at terrorist targets and knocking out IED emplacers. Robotic killers were born.

Now think about UAVs acting like mini-C-17s.

Trolling through the kiosks at the Air Force Associations Air and Space conference in Washington, I came across a pretty cool product thats been developed by Textron Defense Systems.

The Universal Aerial Delivery Dispenser is an underwing bomb-like pod that can carry as much as will fit in its nearly five foot-long, eight inch-diameter canister. Weighing in at a bantam 40 pounds unloaded, the U-ADD as its called, can carry a load of ammo, first aid equipment or other cargo to a pre-selected GPS coordinate. After the UAV drops the canister, a parachute deploys to ease its landing.

Textrons Richard Sterchele said the U-ADD has been tested already on the RQ-5 Hunter, MQ-9 Reaper and works on the RQ-1 Predator, which can carry about 140 pounds under each wing. He said though the Army hasnt formally bought the system, the spec ops community has expressed an interest in the systems ability to deliver covert materiel to remote locations with great stealth.

I dont even know some of the things they want to drop with this. And I dont think I want to know, Sterchele said.

And, oh, it can also deliver a lethal, cluster bomb-like payload or ground sensors and sonobuoys.

-- Christian

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