Four-winged drone is designed to glide-in the goods
Delivering supplies to people in war-torn regions can certainly be dangerous, as enemy forces may shoot down aircraft attempting to do so. That's where the just-announced Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone is designed to come in.
Developed by the US-based Yates Electrospace Corporation (YEC), the GD-2000 weighs in at 2,000 lb (907 kg) and is capable of carrying up to 1,631 lb (740 kg) of goods. Its rectangular fuselage measures 2 by 2 by 8 ft (0.6 by 0.6 by 2.4 m), and it has a wingspan of 28 ft (8.5 m).
The idea is that the drone either be carried aboard a cargo plane such as a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, or hung on a tether beneath a helicopter – in either case, its wings remain folded-in while it's in transit.
Once the host aircraft is within 40 miles (64 km) of its target, the GD-2000 is released at an altitude of anywhere from 25,000 ft (7,620 m) mean sea level down to 1,500 ft (457 m) above ground level. Its four wings fold out at this time, allowing it to silently and autonomously glide to its destination. After it's landed and its payload has been removed, the GD-2000's operational life is over – although that may not be the case with subsequent models.
"We have others in the pipeline, including a reusable glider and a reusable electric take-off and landing version," YEC founder and CEO Chip Yates tells us. "But this first product is disposable."
A full-scale, flight-ready Silent Arrow GD-2000 was unveiled this Tuesday, at the DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) show in London. Production of the aircraft should begin next month. It can be seen in flight, in the video below.
Source: Yates Electrospace Corporation