The video from the US Army Research Laboratory shows Dr. William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office at Office of the Secretary of Defense and members of his staff as they visit the US Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Here, a hoverbike prototype is being tested.
The laboratory and its industry partners demonstrated the flying capabilities of a unique, rectangular-shaped quadcopter during the visit. The Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle, or JTARV – also known as the hoverbike – could someday make it possible for soldiers on the battlefield to order supplies, then receive them from an autonomous, unmanned vehicle.
Dr. Roper said he is concerned about adapting technology advances. In the video, he says his biggest fear is trying to figure out how to get people to see something that’s coming on the shelf, immediately identify the use, determine if it’s good enough to “rock and roll” then keep it on the shelves while upgrading it constantly.
The hoverbike has a payload capacity of up to 300 lbs. it could provide vital resupply at short distances. Army researchers envision a future JTARV flying low to the ground at speeds of 60 miles per hour or more.
Ernesto Garcia Lopez from Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center in New Jersey says this project is successful because they went from constant development to engineering evaluation. It was done in collaboration with various government agencies in a very short time.
The JTARV is a joint effort with the Marine Corps, led by army researchers at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. Lopez says they saw a unique opportunity to show a seamless transition between one army organization and another, while having the industry along the whole time.
The laboratory partnered with the hoverbike manufacturer Malloy Aeronautics from the United Kingdom, and a service engineering company to accelerate the concept of autonomous resupply. At the end of the video, Tim Vong from the laboratory says he thinks Dr. Roper’s visit was a success, as they were able to showcase their ideas and the progress they have been making.