Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR MAY 2017 Contents 33
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 31 | MAY 2017
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Lightweight and deliberately low-tech, drones for the resupply mission appear
on the rise, as DTR reports.
US GROUND FORCES are showing interest in the potential
of drones, or more strictly speaking unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAV), to fulfil resupply and casualty evacuation (CASEVAC)
roles, tasks which are becoming increasingly dangerous for
Employing pilotless aircraft to conduct tactical resupply and
CASEVAC missions is somewhat of a departure for the niche
roles of surveillance reconnaissance, communications relay and
targeting which UAVs are currently most commonly used.
Added focus on the ability of UAVs to carry loads makes as
much operational sense as any of the aforementioned technology-
centric roles, and indeed taps into the very core of why military
drones, robots et al were invented in the first place: to do the dirty
and dangerous work that people either cannot do or where it is
otherwise restrictive to do so.
A case in point is the planned testing by the US Marine Corps
(USMC) of a low-cost, disposable wooden glider that can safely
deliver 453kg (1,000lb) of supplies more than 70nm through
contested airspace, anti-access/area denial environments or over
dangerous terrain to deployed units on the ground.
Designed for one use only, the LG-1000 from California-based
Logistic Gliders enables supplies to be projected forward without
risking manned aircraft against ground-based air defence, stormy
weather, political no-fly zones and atmospheric hazards such as
radioactive fallout or volcanic ash. The craft is silent, has a low
radar signature and can operate in all weather.
Typical load-outs for the LG-1000 would include fuel, water,
food, ammunition, medical kit and other broken down supplies
UNMANNED AND AUTONOMOUS PLATFORMS HAVE
THE POTENTIAL TO COMPLETELY REWRITE THE MEDICAL
DOCTRINE FOR HOW WE CONDUCT EMERGENCY
RESUPPLY WITH UNMANNED AND AUTONOMOUS
PLATFORMS, INCLUDING WHOLE BLOOD PRODUCTS
DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO THE POINT OF NEED, AS WELL
AS MONITORED CASEVAC MISSIONS
for critical military or humanitarian missions, with landing
accuracy around 25m.
In March 2012, Logistic Gliders flew a full-scale LG-1000
prototype and demonstrated stable flight, adequate structural
margin and a sufficient glide ratio to carry cargo 70nm when
dropped from an operational altitude. The prototype was
designed and built using only US$600 (AUD$800) in materials.
Also known as Revolutionary Airlift Innovation (RAIN for
short), the LG-1000 is intended to be deployed from fixed-wing
aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III
and large rear ramp helicopters as per the CH-47 Chinook, CH-53
and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor. With wings that fold for compact
storage, 28 of the gliders can fit inside a C-130 or 70 in a C-17A.
The LG-1000 is literally pushed out the back of the aircraft
and once a safe distance away, the wings are extended with a
static line and a reusable airborne guidance unit autonomously
guides each glider towards a pre-programmed delivery location.
A few seconds before impact with the ground, a low-cost braking
parachute deploys to provide a soft landing and retain cargo
In April this year, the USMC evaluated the LG-1000 during
the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation
Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017 experimental
wargame at Camp Pendleton as part of an examination of
available and emerging technologies that might be harnessed to
create disruptive capabilities.
Meanwhile, the US Army is looking closely at how future multi-
purpose unmanned platforms could assist in medical operations
on the multi-domain battlefield in mobility or resource-
constrained or denied environments.
“ The growing planned use of unmanned systems and robotics
on the future battlefield affords both great opportunities for
medical force multipliers as well as significant operational
medicine and medical research challenges,” Gary R. Gilbert,
RIGHT: The DP-14 Hawk VTOL
UAV is able to autonomously
transport a single casualty in
its cargo hold (inset below).
Images: Dragonfly Pictures
ABOVE: Depicted carrying a 55 gallon drum, the LG-1000
expendable glider can deliver 453kg of cargo to deployed ground
units more than 70nm away. Image: Logistic Gliders
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