Monday, February 26, 2024

Silent Arrow to develop a long-range powered cargo drone

Aerospace company Silent Arrow has been selected by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s innovation arm AFWERX for an SBIR contract focused on the Silent Arrow CLS-300 (Contested Logistics System, 300 Nautical Miles) to address one of the most pressing challenges in the Department of the Air Force (DAF).

The CLS-300 will be a heavy payload, long-range motorized version of the commercially successful Silent Arrow GD-2000, the world’s first heavy payload, autonomous and attritable cargo delivery aircraft. The GD-200 can carry up to 1,500 lbs (680 kg) of cargo over 35 nautical miles (65 km) when deployed from cargo aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin C-130, Boeing C-17, and Airbus A400M.

Whereas the GD-2000 is an autonomous glider drone, the new CLS-300 uses an innovative propulsion unit and propeller system that allows it to travel almost ten times as far.

In addition to greater range, the CLS-300’s motorized configuration will allow it to take off by itself from the ground, including from unimproved surfaces, naval vessels, and other launch points. It is still inexpensive enough to allow the entire cargo drone to be attritable.

“We’d like to thank the U.S. Air Force, AFWERX, AFRL, and our Air Force Customer and End-User organizations for their confidence in awarding this disruptive program,” said Chip Yates, Silent Arrow’s Founder and CEO. “We are looking forward to a compressed schedule with propulsion tests in the first half of 2024 followed by flight tests in the second half of 2024 so that we may rapidly deliver this critical capability to warfighters operating in harm’s way as well as to humanitarian and disaster relief organizations serving those in need.”