In difficult-to-reach war zones, it can be almost impossible to get any supplies to the ground soldiers or even conduct a rescue missions without coming under enemy fire or landing in dangerous minefields. Spurred by all these logistical issues, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) is now pushing to develop an unmanned helicopter drone to be used for airborne reconnaissance missions, supply runs and casualty evacuations.
Machines of the future
The futuristic machines will be equipped with power system, digital flight-controls, remote control, command interfaces and will carry up to 1,360 kg (3,000 lb). The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, believe its troops will soon be able to control these giant unmanned helicopter with their mobile apps via tablets or smartphones. DARPA’s Ares- Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System programs are now in the third phase with the lead designer for this project Lockheed Martin Skunk in charge of integrating the system programs.
Getting supplies to the soldiers manning the front line can be a massive challenge. As per the Department of Defense, combat outposts require around 100,000 pounds of material on a weekly basis. If the soldiers are positioned at very high altitudes or are deep in the jungle, it is just not possible to truck-in supplies. Helicopters are able to do the job; however, the demand for these drop-offs generally exceeds the availability of helicopters. Most missions need dedicated vertical landing and take-off assets, however most of the ground units do not have helicopters of their own and these drones will solve that problem, says the project program manager Ashish Bagai, of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA).