Feb. 23 – A long-range aerial drone was evaluated by Naval Air Force Atlantic last weekend, the Navy reported. The long-range transport of freight, known as the Blue Water UAS, is designed to work with naval forces that usually operate over open water in heavy winds and require aircraft to land on vessels that travel rapidly at sea.Last Sunday, the proof-of-concept test was performed by transporting lightweight logistic equipment on board the USS Gerald R. Ford from the mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center at Naval Station Norfolk while the carrier was in port.
According to the Navy, the demonstration vehicle “can operate in some of these conditions and further development will be required to meet the full Naval requirement””This UAS demonstration leverages cutting edge technology to enhance our logistical efficiency across the Naval Air Force,”This UAS demonstration leverages cutting-edge technology to boost our logistical efficiency across the Naval Air Force.
“We have come a long way in integrating unmanned systems in Naval Aviation and the lessons learned today will help to accelerate this capability to the fleet,” Meier said.According to the Navy, data from the casualty records of the service indicates that warships moving to non-mission capable or partially mission capable status frequently do so because of logistical problems such as the need for electronic components, requiring small shipments weighing less than 50 pounds.
These deliveries are currently carried out by aircraft such as MH-60 helicopters and MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, but officials claim that Blue Water could theoretically deliver similar deliveries more effectively and at lower costs. “Carrier logistics is a complex and diverse problem set,” said Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, the commanding officer of Gerald R. Ford.
“Sometimes getting a small part delivered to the ship has a big impact on the availability of an embarked system or aircraft. Having UAS like Blue Water may improve our ability to quickly meet specific logistics needs where payload and ship’s location permit,” Lanzilotta said.An Unmanned Air Vehicle prototype was acquired by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division to demonstrate long-range naval ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore cargo transport at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in October.