Unmanned Drones and Convoys via 5G Networks the Future of Resupply During Wars?

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Members of the Marine Corps at Miramar, CA, are working with Gaithersburg, MD.-based Robotic Research on a new tactic: unmanned resupply during armed conflict.

“There are missions that are essentially unsupportable…with our current construct,” Lt. Col. Brandon Newell told BreakingDefense.com.

Sending a single driver out to deliver supplies is often dangerous during combat. So even routine supply runs in Afghanistan use either helicopters, which are scarce, or heavily armed convoys, which are inefficient for small deliveries.

If a unit needed critical but limited supplies, the current resupply system proved either risky or slow.

So the Marines have spent years experimenting with robotic resupply vehicles, ranging from the unmanned helicopters to mini-drones carrying individual clips of ammo, canteens, and packs of batteries.

Risk of loss of such robots is manageable and small but urgent resupply needs can be met quickly.

“Now you can go point to point and be more dynamic in meeting the need,” Newell said, “rather than [having to] bulk up and aggregate everything together.”

High-bandwidth-consuming strategies like this are thought to be made possible on 5G networks. Verizon is currently building such a network at Miramar.

Photo by Lockheed


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