Home Bots & Bullets US Department of Defense buys autonomous cargo gliders

US Department of Defense buys autonomous cargo gliders

$2.2M program includes 5 Silent Arrow GD-2000 Autonomous Cargo Delivery Aircraft Systems

by Marco van der Hoeven

Silent Arrow announced that the company’s GD-2000 UAS platform was selected for a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Warfighter Lab Incentive Fund (WLIF) contract with a 12-month period of performance beginning in Q1 2022.

The $2.2M contract win resulted from the Pentagon-based Joint Staff (J7 Joint Force Development Directorate) partnering with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and one of its theater components, in order to fund a series of advanced operational demonstrations and Concept of Operations (CONOPs) development activities for Silent Arrow’s flagship product, the GD-2000.


Earlier the Air Force of a U.S. 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, 1,026 lbs. (465 kg) of an undisclosed cargo load was secured inside the 26 cubic foot fuselage of two GD-2000s, bringing the gross vehicle weight of each aircraft to 1,520 lbs. (689 kg), below Silent Arrow’s certified max gross of 2,000 lbs. (907 kg).

Two C-130s were 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, autonomous waypoint selection and navigation, and 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 Irvine, California facility 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.

Originally designed to replace GPS-steered parachutes (JPADS) under contract from the U.S. Marine Corps, the Silent Arrow line of autonomous cargo delivery aircraft has so far expanded to three platforms based on military tactical resupply requirements.


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