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U.S. Air Force Orders 15 Guided Cargo Delivery Drones

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November 29, 2021

Silent Arrow, which develops autonomous cargo drone technologies, has announced that the U.S. Air Force awarded the company a contract for the delivery of 15 Silent Arrow drones that will be reconfigured as an autonomous cargo delivery glider.

The contract, “Guided Bundle Derivative of Silent Arrow for Side Door and Palletized Swarm Deployment at High Speeds and Altitudes” was awarded through the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) as a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract. The Silent Arrow GD-2000 (Glider, disposable, 2,000 pounds) platform will be scaled down and redesigned to be named the Silent Arrow Precision Guided Bundle (SA-PGB). The system is specifically designed for side door and multi-unit (swarm) ramp deployment, compatible with a much-expanded fleet of delivery aircraft, ranging from the civilian Cessna Caravan to the military C-17, Silent Arrow said.

The new gliders will be designed and built at the company’s headquarters in Irvine, California, with the 15 aircraft shipped to a flight test center in Pendleton, Oregon, for operational evaluations at the Pendleton UAS Test Range. Initial specifications include a 500-pound maximum weight, 350-pound cargo capacity, 39 inches in length and deployable from high altitudes and airspeeds.

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The Silent Arrow GD-2000 can be deployed from several different civilian and military aircraft. Photo by Silent Arrow

“We’d like to thank the U.S. Special Operations community, the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and various other organizations who signed on to support this award for a new life-saving cargo delivery drone,” said Chip Yates, the founder and CEO of Silent Arrow. “We look forward to an exciting flight test program in 2022 and quickly getting this new capability into the hands of the warfighter and disaster relief organizations alike.”

The company said the Silent Arrow’s integrated packaging and patented spring-deployed wing system, payload capacity, 40-mile standoff distance and low unit cost has received enthusiastic reception from its customers. The original systems are currently being delivered and operated to directly serve heavy-payload, autonomous cargo resupply missions around the world.

More information on the company and its technology is available here.


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