Silent Arrow drone completes first overseas deployment

By Rebecca Jeffrey

A Silent Arrow GD-2000 is deployed from a C-130 by rolling backwards and safely separating from the cargo ramp over an undisclosed desert test range. Photo: Silent Arrow

A Silent Arrow cargo delivery drone has delivered 1,026 pounds of cargo in its first overseas deployment.

US-based Silent Arrow, a trade name of Yates Electrospace Corporation, said the air force of a US allied government in the Middle East has conducted the first overseas deployments of the Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone under a $1.5m operational evaluation contract.

In preparation for the flight operation, 465 kg of an undisclosed cargo load was secured inside the 26 cu ft fuselage of two GD-2000s, bringing the gross vehicle weight of each aircraft to 689 kg, below Silent Arrow’s certified max gross of 907 kg.

Two Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft were also used in the operation, during which two GD-2000s were rigged in accordance with U.S. military standards for Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles. Deployment occurred over a desert environment where Silent Arrow demonstrated completely autonomous flight and autonomous waypoint selection and navigation. During the auto landing sequence, Silent Arrow’s autonomous autopilot was able to command and achieve a zero-sink rate flare.

A series of 12 Block 1 GD-2000s are currently on station in the Middle East in support of the contract, with 15 Block 2 aircraft in production at Silent Arrow’s California facility and due to ship in the first half of 2022.  To date, 45 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Silent Arrow GD-2000s have been built, with Full Rate Production (FRP) into the thousands of units expected to begin in 2023.

“As we prepare for mass production, it’s encouraging to see foreign allied governments as enthusiastic about the new capabilities Silent Arrow brings to the warfighter as the U.S. military has been,” said Chip Yates, Silent Arrow’s founder and CEO.  “We have distribution agreements in place for 37 countries so far and are working hard to become the worldwide standard for airdrop logistics.”

Several other companies developing drone technology are based in California, including Elroy Air and Natilus.

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