A cargo drone that can carry at least a 1,026 lb load has been deployed by an air force of a U.S. allied government in the Middle East as part of the first overseas evaluation contract.
Silent Arrow’s GD-2000 delivery drone carried an undisclosed cargo that was secured inside a 26 cubic foot fuselage of two GD-2000s. The company said the drones can carry up to 2,000 lb, although it has presumably not been tested.
The test flight took place over a desert region where two C-130s were used to launch the GD-2000 drones that were rigged in accordance with U.S. military standards for container delivery system (CDS) bundles.
From there, the drones autonomously flew to a waypoint, navigating through the air and then autonomously landing. Silent Arrow said its autopilot was able to command and achieve a zero-sink rate flare.
There are 12 GD-2000s currently stationed in the Middle East to support the contract with another 15 series 2 aircraft in production at Silent Arrow’s Irvine, California, facility that will ship in the first half of this year. So far, 45 GD-2000s have been built with thousands of units to be built in 2023, the company said.
Silent Arrow said it has distribution agreements with 37 countries.
Originally, the drones were designed to replace GPS-steered parachutes (JPADS) with the U.S. Marine Corps. But the company has expanded to three platforms based on tactical resupply requirements.