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Leidos and Elroy Air to demonstrate autonomous aerial resupply drone for U.S. Marine Corps

Leidos and Elroy Air  have been approved to demonstrate an autonomous Medium Aerial Resupply Vehicle – Expeditionary Logistics (MARV-EL) prototype for the Navy and Marine Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office (PMA-263). The companies say the flight test activities are scheduled for July 2024 and also the development and testing are part of a contract awarded last year to develop and demonstrate an uncrewed aircraft system that can autonomously resupply forward-deployed ground forces for the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Leidos and Elroy Air are slated to demonstrate Elroy Air’s Chaparral system at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona” according to the press release. “The Chaparral is a “lift-plus-cruise” hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (hVTOL) cargo aircraft. The Chaparral system leverages the benefits of wing-borne flight driven by electric propulsion and turbo-generation for efficient autonomous operations and longer-range missions. It is designed with an advanced carbon composite airframe and modular automated payload capabilities to help reduce the personnel required versus legacy aircraft and enable zero-touch logistics.

“MARV-EL is a PMA-263 effort designed to provide commanders with a responsive capability to sustain Marine Corps Forces conducting expeditionary advanced base and other distributed operations. MARV-EL, using autonomous operations, should be the “middle-weight” unmanned logistics asset, providing combat sustainment to Marines when ground or manned aviation assets are unavailable due to threat, terrain, weather, or competing priorities.”

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(Image: Elroy Air)

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