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USN demonstrates future cargo resupply UAS prototypes

A TRV-150 Tactical Resupply UAS flies over Webster Outlying Field. TRUAS is a marine-focused platform for tactical resupply primarily on shore. (NAVAIR)

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has undertaken demonstrations of two prototype unmanned logistics supply aircraft – the Blue Water Maritime Logistics UAS (BWUAS) and the Tactical Resupply Unmanned Aircraft System (TRUAS) – that could be used to resupply US Navy and US Marine Corps forces on the frontline.

NAVAIR's Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems programme office (PMA-263) and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) co-ordinated the 27 October event at Webster Outlying Field (WOLF), Maryland. Operators from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 24 (UX-24) performed multiple resupply missions flying both the SURVICE Engineering/Malloy Aeronautics TRV-150 vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS – part of the TRUAS programme – and a Skyways VTOL UAS forming part of the BWUAS project.

The BWUAS is intended to support resupply at sea. Its design emphasises long range and small footprint over load capacity (limited to 30–50 lb). TRUAS is a USMC-focused capability primarily designed for tactical resupply of equipment and stores to marines in the field: it has a shorter range than BWUAS, but can lift loads of about 150 lb.

PMA-263, in collaboration with NAVAIR's AirWorks, Innovation and Modernization Patuxent River (a partnership of NAWCAD and Georgia Tech Research Institute), WOLF and other contracting teams, used Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs) to accelerate TRUAS: OTAs offer the programme the flexibility to make iterative changes to the prototype based on the users' input to streamline development compared with a traditional acquisition programme. The TRV-150 will be delivered to Marines as part of an extended user assessment in mid-2022.

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