Army won't rush into cargo-carrying UAV buy

Despite the unprecedented move the Marine Corps made Dec. 17 to begin using the K-MAX unmanned helicopters to deliver cargo to troops in Afghanistan -- now on as many as six missions a day -- the Army has yet to follow suit and embrace the concept of cargo-carrying unmanned aerial vehicles, reports DefenseNews.com.

But that doesn’t mean the service isn’t paying attention and even weighing its options – including the K-MAX and Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird, both with vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) platforms – concerning cargo mission-oriented umanned aerial vehicles (UAV). In fact, the Army issued a request for information in January for a VTOL UAV that is able to fly up to 300 nautical miles, navigate airspeeds of at least 250 knots even and through severe weather and handle between 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of cargo, according to an Army document.

In the meantime, though, the Army seems to be practicing patience when it comes to cargo-carrying UAVs, in part due to budget constraints and more pressing needs, such as the creation of an armed aerial scout, the article said.

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