It’s not quite a paper airplane drone. But this DARPA-funded plywood drone is low-cost and disposable – and shows a lot of promise for commercial uses, too.
Reminiscent of the wooden construction of the PT boats of WWII, the drone featured in this video released by Logistics Gliders shows a test flight in January 2019 of a plywood constructed glider, developed under contract with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), and the Marine Corp. Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL). PT boats in WWII were created of wood at low cost and in large numbers.
It is described as a “Low cost, single use, autonomous disposable glider based logistics resupply system.”
It can be deployed from a helicopter sling or from a cargo plane with compatible skid plates where the wings deploy upon release. The glider can be flown with either RC or FPV glasses or can be flown autonomously. The glider can land vertically using a parachute with a honeycomb paper nose help to cushion the landing. This aircraft can fly at up to 25,000 feet and carry an impressive payload of up to 1,800 lbs.
While not discussed in the promotional video, civilian uses for this type of craft are easy to imagine: for disaster relief or delivery of high value goods to remote areas with no landing fields.
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