There’s been a lot of talk of weaponized drones. But in the future, drones might be the ones to deliver weapons to soldiers out in the field. That’s because a branch of NATO is currently testing drone delivery use cases for the military.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allied Command Transformation, Joint Force Development Directorate, Operational Experimentation branch teamed up with Virginia-based drone company DroneUp to test how drones can provide autonomous last mile resupply to military fields.
Last month, the experimental NATO branch along with Pale Horse Weapons Institute, Daniel Defense, Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM), and WeaponLogic (with the help of DroneUp, which provided the drones) conducted an exercise in Lawrenceville, Virginia where they tested an “autonomous resupply experiment” in a safe field environment.
As part of the experiment, which was conducted on Sept. 21, 2020, participants tested a few different factors, including multiple different payloads, multiple recipients, and making the whole thing happen completely autonomously — with no pilot controlling sticks on another end.
One way the tests were able to visually demonstrate the accuracy
and reliability of an autonomous drone was through the use of dedicated colored UTM training ammunition.
A spokesperson for DroneUp said that drones wouldn’t necessarily deliver just weapons, but also water or medical supplies, noting that this could put “fewer soldiers in harms way.”
“DroneUp and OPEX found that the experiment was successful and this capability has vast utility across numerous military and deployed roles, but especially in emergency medical resupply and the assistance of isolated personnel,” according to a statement from DroneUp.
It’s worth nothing that, by FAA standards, weaponized drones themselves are illegal.
Do you think drones made to deliver weapons is a good idea? Leave a comment below!