Adding to its various cargo-carrying capabilities, the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) demonstrated its ability to airdrop supplies, a major milestone that will eventually lead to quicker resupply missions for troops in challenging locations or out in battlefields.
APT can carry two standard tactical packs, each capable of holding up to 60 lbs. with a max payload of 100 lbs. These bags can be aerial dropped at one location or at two separate locations and can hold items such as ammo cans, water, medical supplies, or fuel.
“This speed bag resupply feature is a game changer for the warfighter,” said Mike Goodwin, sales and strategy manager. “With the ability to drop supplies quickly and efficiently in a drop zone or a remote location, we can get critical supplies delivered as soon as they’re needed.”
This aerial supply-drop feature demonstration fully showcases APT’s ability to enable faster and more efficient resupply for future warfighters. Since the vehicle will simply drop the goods quickly near the location, personnel can immediately retrieve supplies without needing to wait for aircraft to land and takeoff. This key vehicle feature conserves battery power by minimizing hover time - extending the its mission range and time – and increases survivability of the aircraft. By leveraging an agile, autonomous vehicle, ground forces can stay concealed by minimizing time at the drop zone.
To date, the APT flight test program has completed over 420 flights at Yuma, Camp Lejeune, Fort Benning and other test sites and is expected to reach additional milestones by early 2022. Upcoming development will include precision aerial supply-drops while flying at a cruise speed of 80 mph. APT continues to pioneer autonomous electric vehicle technology at Bell and prove its value for a range of objectives, from military resupply to on-demand delivery.
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Bell showcased this capability and more at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) 2022 at Fort Benning, Georgia, March 21-24.