It’s been a busy few weeks in the cargo drone industry. Both Elroy Aerial and Bell have recently released test footage of their new delivery systems. The field is growing crowded.
Yesterday, a cargo-carrying autonomous glider with a 28ft (8.5m) wingspan with a potential payload of up to 1,631 pounds (740 kg) was unveiled at the Defence & Security Equipment International Show in London.
The Silent Arrow, from Yates Electrospace Corporation (YEC), is described by the company as “the world’s first production-ready, 1-ton, autonomous cargo aircraft.”
According to YEC, the drone can deliver 1,631 pounds of supplies at less than half the cost of JPADS (The Joint Precision Airdrop System preferred by the US military, which combines GPS with steerable parachutes and onboard computer systems.
YEC says the Silent Arrow glider offers “dramatically improved landing accuracy, zero vertical impact force and with far greater stealth.”
As with Elroy Aerial’s Chaparral, Silent Arrow addresses a need in the market for an autonomous vehicle capable of tactical resupply, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
So far, YEC has agreed distribution agreements in 34 territories, including the European Union, the UK, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Israel, Brazil and India.
Yates Electrospace Corporation CEO Chip Yates, said, “The Silent Arrow GD-2000 being unveiled at the DSEI show is the flagship in a rapidly expanding product line including single-use, ruggedized and reusable, scaled-down, scaled-up, unpowered gliders and electrically powered cargo delivery aircraft.”
An autonomous cargo glider
Silent Arrow’s drone comes folded. Its spring-deployed wings are transported inside the fuselage and it needs to be released from a fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter for launch. The aim is for the cargo glider to be used in the deployment of urgent supplies, cargo and fuel – under what YEC describe as “austere operating conditions and timelines.”
You can watch a test deployment of the Silent Arrow in the video below. A full scale, flight-ready Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone is on display from September 10-13, 2019 at the DSEI show, ExCel London.