The US Navy (USN) is thinking about creating a programme of record to buy small cargo drones for ship-to-ship resupply missions.
The potential move comes after the service conducted recent experiments with a fixed-wing unmanned air vehicle (UAV), that has four electric-powered rotors for vertical takeoff-and-landing (VTOL), made by startup Skyways, says Tony Schmidt, director of rapid prototyping, experimentation and demonstration for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, on 4 August. The service dubbed the drone the Blue Water Maritime Logistics unmanned air system.
In February, the USN conducted a proof-of-concept test with the Skyways UAV, moving light-weight logistical equipment from a maintenance centre at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia to the USS Gerald R. Ford, while the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was anchored in-port. In July, the service followed up with a ship-to-ship demonstration, moving cargo from the guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge to…