The US Marine Corps, along with Army researchers, have successfully tested a hoverbike quadcopter that they say could one day be used as a supply delivery drone. Called the JTARV, or Join Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle, the robot is currently capable of carrying 300 pounds of supply at a speed of 60 miles per hour. They say that it would be used to bring in supplies to “challenging missions.”
Yes, just like calling in supplies in Call of Duty.
If you haven’t been spending most of your time under a rock, you know that quadcopters and drones are a thing. They’re used as aerial photography rigs, racing vehicles and straight-up toys. They’re also being looked at as mules, or delivery systems. In fact, Amazon is testing drones to deliver, say, cat food to crazy cat ladies, so it makes sense that quadcopters would be looked at for military purposes.
The JTARV was originally a Kickstarter project developed by Mallow Aeronautics. They scored a contract with the US Army, originally looking at the vehicle as a surveillance hoverbike. This latest test as a mule doesn’t mean that the JTARV’s days as a manned vehicle are over, of course, but it’s pretty clear the Army is setting this thing up as a platform that could be used in multiple situations.
The test took place on January 10 at that Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The ultimate goal is to allow the vehicle to fly either manned or autonomous thousands of feet in the air, and resupply soldiers in less than 30 minutes at a range of 125 miles.
“Anywhere on the battlefield, Soldiers can potentially get resupplied in less than 30 minutes,” said Tim Vong, associate chief of ARL’s Protection division.
Even he sees this as their version of the Amazon drone, calling it “Amazon on the battlefield.”