Silent Arrow to develop motorized, disposable, heavy transport drone
Aerospace company Silent Arrow has been awarded a contract by the Air Force Research Laboratory's innovation arm AFWERX to develop a heavy payload, long-range motorized version of its GD-2000 glider drone capable of flying 300 nm (350 mi, 560 km).
Silent Arrow has made a name for itself by developing a series of military and civilian autonomous glider drones capable of carrying up to 1,500 lb (680 kg). These drones are designed to be carried by transport aircraft or helicopters, dropped, spread their wings, and then glide to their destination in disaster or combat zones. They are also designed to be cheap enough to be expendable.
It's an interesting design, but what it lacks is range. The GD-200, for example, can only travel about 35 nm (40 miles, 65 km) after being dropped from a Lockheed Martin C-130, Boeing C-17, or Airbus A400M transport aircraft. The CLS-300 hopes to increase this range by a factor of 10 using a motorized pusher propeller to move the boxy aircraft along.
In addition to greater range, Silent Arrow says that the CLS-300's motorized configuration will allow it to take off by itself from unimproved runways, ships, and other platforms. It is still inexpensive and disposable.
“We’d like to thank the US Air Force, AFWERX, AFRL and our Air Force customer and end-user organizations for their confidence in awarding this disruptive program,” said Chip Yates, Silent Arrow’s Founder and CEO. “We are looking forward to a compressed schedule with propulsion tests in the first half of 2024 followed by flight tests in the second half of 2024 so that we may rapidly deliver this critical capability to war-fighters operating in harm’s way as well as to humanitarian and disaster relief organizations serving those in need.”
Source: Silent Arrow