Yates Electrospace Corporation has announced the launch of a civilian subsidiary, AVIUS Air Delivery, to provide immediate air response for humanitarian relief efforts, natural disasters and pandemics such as the current COVID-19 crisis, based on the technology of their successful 1-tonne, military resupply glider Silent Arrow.
Silent Arrow’s tightly integrated packaging with its unique spring-deployed wing system transported inside the fuselage, 40-mile standoff distance and low unit cost has received enthusiastic reception from US and foreign militaries and is now being launched as AVIUS Air Delivery to directly serve humanitarian and disaster relief needs throughout the world.
The AVIUS Air Delivery launch product, known as the Mercy-2000, is a single-use, low-cost, autonomous cargo delivery glider, deployed from fixed wing aircraft or helicopter sling load, optimized to immediately transport up to 1,600 pounds of supply, or 26 cubic feet, depending on the commodity being delivered. Loading examples include: 3,500 flu/virus vaccines (22-gauge, 1-inch needle/syringe + 0.5 mL vaccines), 336 meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) totaling 420,000 calories, 125 gallons of fresh water, gasoline or jet fuel and assortments of medical supplies, protective garments, batteries, generators and other emergency rations.
Cargo delivery operations are ongoing from the company’s flight test and qualification center at the Pendleton, Oregon UAS Test Range, where the Mercy-2000 is lifted by a helicopter and dropped at a predetermined altitude. Following release, the on-board autonomous autopilot navigates the aircraft to a distant landing zone at an 8.4 to 1 glide ratio and executes an automated landing within 100 meters of the intended destination.
The Mercy-2000’s spring open wing design also allow it to be carried inside narrow cargo transport aircraft and rotorcraft such as the C-17, C-130, CH-53, V-22, Caravan, Skyvan and others, where deployment from 25,000 feet results in the wings springing open to their 28-foot total wingspan, giving up to a 40-mile standoff distance.
The United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) recently granted YEC airworthiness approval to conduct operational assessments from certain of their C-130 aircraft in Department of Defense test ranges throughout 2020. When deployed from the cargo ramp of transport aircraft like the C-130 with its wings folded prior to release, Silent Arrow is considered a Precision Guided Bundle (PGB) and competes directly with Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS), at less than half the cost and more than double the glide ratio.
“The entire YEC team is dedicated to preparing AVIUS Air Delivery for operational readiness in 2020 to provide heavy payload deliveries of vaccines and other critical medical supplies in accordance with the world’s new social distancing realities,” said Chip Yates, YEC’s founder and CEO.