bots IN BRIEF
UAS DELIVERS THE GOODS
As part of several innovative programs aimed at revolutionizing war zone
resupply, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory recently completed the technology
demonstration phase of developing unmanned aerial systems for cargo delivery in the
austere, forward-deployed environs of Afghanistan.
Immediate Cargo UAS tested the Kaman K-MAX Burro and Boeing
Corporation's A160T Hummingbird. Both demonstrations — which took place
separately in Utah at the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground — showcased the ability
to support tactical ground and aviation resupply efforts of Marine forces in a harsh
combat environment. The Warfighting Lab conducts concept-based experimentation
integrating operational concepts with current practices and technology to improve
the expeditionary warfighting capabilities of Marine Corps. They took on this task in
Kaman and Boeing learned they made the cut in August 2009. Demonstration
lead Marine Capt.Amanda Mowry and her team chose Dugway, UT as the testing
ground."We tried to replicate the conditions we need the Cargo UAS to fly in,"
explained Mowry.Aside from its terrain, Dugway's unpredictable weather and high
altitude were pluses for the test.
Burro and Hummingbird each faced unforeseen hurdles, making the
demonstration more realistic according to lab officials. Mowry and her team altered
scenarios more than once due to bad weather. Both aircraft performed a series of
required maneuvers during no fewer than four events over three days. They flew
distances of 150 nautical miles at altitudes of 7,500 feet. The aircraft carried over
1,000 lbs. sling-load style. They flew at night through hazardous mountain ranges and
hovered above their drop zones. At its conclusion, Cargo UAS showed that an unmanned aerial vehicle can successfully deliver
10,000 pounds of gear to a site within a 24 hour period. This measure was crucial to the demo, noted Mowry. Marine officials
estimate that a UAS resupply could replace a convoy of 16 security vehicles and the four resupply trucks they escort, getting
about 100 Marines off the road. The hypothetical unit supported in the demonstration was a company of 180 Marines.
FOR THE BIRDS
Instead of using a plastic
owl to scare away other pesky
birds, why not try Robop?
Developed by Scotland
resident John Donald, the
robotic peregrine falcon can
be controlled with a WAP
enabled phone. Donald
suggests moving Robop around occasionally so the other
birds don’t suspect he’s not the real deal. Of course, you can
always download the 38 page guide that talks all about the
$4,200 security bird. Be sure to read the part that explains
why your bird population may increase when the
"psychological warfare device" is employed.
The US Defense Threat
Reduction Agency may have been
remembering Hitler's famous bunker or those hidden
tunnels in the Middle East when they decided that a Robotic
Underground Munition would be a handy thing to have
around. A RUM hits the dirt, starts drilling, and then blows
itself up. The suicide bomberbot should also be able to
communicate, avoid obstacles, and have sensors so it can find
its way. Wanna get in on this action? Go to www.fbo.gov/
if you have the right stuff to make one.
22 SERVO 05.2010