The development of military cargo drones cannot be driven by the civilian cargo drone market. The Global UAV Logistics and Transportation Market Report, published by Markets and Markets, a globally renowned market research firm, predicts that the global logistics UAV market will grow to USD 29.06 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 21.01% during the forecast period.
Based on the optimistic prediction of future logistics drone application scenarios and economic benefits, relevant scientific research institutions and companies in many countries have put forward the development plan of cargo drones, and the resulting vigorous development of civil cargo drones has also boosted the development of military cargo drones.
In 2009, two companies in the United States cooperated to launch the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter. The aircraft has a staggered dual-rotor layout, a maximum payload of 2.7 tons, a range of 500 km and GPS navigation, and can perform battlefield transport tasks at night, in mountainous terrain, on plateaus and in other environments. During the Afghan war, the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter flew more than 500 hours and transferred hundreds of tons of cargo. However, the unmanned cargo helicopter is converted from an active helicopter, with a loud engine, which is easy to expose itself and the position of the frontline combat detachment.
In response to the U.S. military’s desire for a silent/low-audible cargo drone, YEC Electric Aerospace introduced the Silent Arrow GD-2000, a single-use, unpowered, glide-flight cargo drone made of plywood with a large cargo bay and four foldable wings, and a payload of around 700 kg, which can be used to deliver munitions, supplies, etc. to the front line. In a test in 2023, the drone was launched with its wings deployed and landed with an accuracy of about 30 meters.
With the accumulation of technology in the field of drones, Israel has also embarked on the development of military cargo drones.
In 2013, the first flight of the “Air Mule” vertical take-off and landing cargo drone developed by Israel’s City Airways was successful, and its export model is known as the “Cormorant” drone. The UAV has a peculiar shape, with two culvert fans in the fuselage to allow the UAV to take off and land vertically, and two culvert fans in the tail to provide horizontal thrust for the UAV. With a speed of up to 180 km/h, it is capable of transporting 500 kg of cargo per sortie in a 50 km combat radius, and can even be used for aerial evacuation and transfer of the wounded.
A Turkish company has also developed a cargo drone, the Albatross, in recent years. The rectangular body of the Albatross is equipped with six pairs of counter-rotating propellers, with six support frames underneath, and a cargo compartment can be mounted underneath the fuselage, capable of transporting all kinds of materials or transferring the injured, and resembling a flying centipede full of propellers when viewed from afar.
Meanwhile, the Windracer Ultra from the United Kingdom, the Nuuva V300 from Slovenia, and the VoloDrone from Germany are also more characteristic cargo drones with dual-use characteristics.
In addition, some commercial multi-rotor UAVs are also capable of undertaking the task of transporting smaller masses of materials by air to provide supplies and security for frontlines and outposts.
Post time: Jan-11-2024