Marines' unmanned lift competition worth watching

As air drops increase, demand for autonomous cargo transport grows

The Marine Corps is expected to make a decision this year about which of two unmanned aerial lift systems it plans to deploy on the battlefield in Afghanistan, reports Paul McLeary in Aviation Week’s "Ares" blog.

The decision is important because one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of casualties from improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan is to replace vehicle convoys that transfer supplies with manned and unmanned air drops.

The Marines will choose between Boeing Co.’s A160T Hummingbird and Lockheed Martin Corp.’s K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft systems.

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