Defense Logistics Agency proves drone delivery concept

By Luke Geiver | August 12, 2019

The Defense Logistics Agency has proven how to use drones to provide food and water to troops or personnel operating in disaster relief scenarios. In July, the DLA worked with two unmanned aircraft systems to test land-to-sea and land-to-land drone delivery scenarios. According to the DLA, the research flights consisted of two, one-mile missions to test delivery methods for moving a 50-pound payload. The DLA is the nation’s main combat logistics agency and works with all department of defense entities along with several other government organizations.

First Strike Rations and a case of bottled water were moved from land to the New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center and then from land to the U.S. Coast Guard Lawrence Lawson off the coast of Cape May.

The New Jersey institute of Technology Unmanned Aviation Systems Test Site worked in collaboration with the DLA to collect data on the deliveries and to help with the testing. “I was amazed to see that the payload was delivered intact and ready for its intended use and the UAS returned to the launch site safely,” said Nick McGinty, DLA Troop Support’s subsistence industrial base planning chief.

Nicholas Faillace, contracting officer on the drone delivery test flights, said the DLA is often involved in diaster relief efforts and the drone flight allowed the team to test new capabilities.

“This drone delivery proof of concept will pave the way for a future approach to deliver subsistence items to areas that would be obstructed due to some natural disaster,” Faillace added. The DLA also said that the tests proved that drone delivery could, and will, be useful in the future.