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Goodbye Paradrops! Bell Showcases Its New Autonomous Supply Drop Drone

The novel autonomous system can carry a 100 lb payload 35 miles away.

Military troops overseas often rely on air drops to receive food, ammunition, and medical supplies. However, these cargos that are parachuted down are often carried far away from the troops, sometimes even into a hostile area.

Now, Bell has introduced a new electric-powered military drone for resupplying missions that can function without the need for a parachute. Called the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT), the drone can carry two standard tactical packs, each capable of holding up to 60 lbs. with a max payload of 100 lbs. Better yet, it can drop these bags at one location or at two separate locations depending on the mission's needs.

“This speed bag resupply feature is a game changer for the warfighter,” said in a statement Mike Goodwin, sales and strategy manager Bell. “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.”

Bell claims the APT has already flown 420 times at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, in Georgia, and other sites. Now, the company is seeking to demonstrate how the aircraft can drop supplies on demand at its cruising speed of 80 mph (129 km/h).

For now, the vehicle's main advantage is that it will simply drop the transported goods quickly near the location, allowing personnel to immediately retrieve supplies without needing to wait for aircraft to land and takeoff. This allows the drone to conserve battery power by minimizing hover time, extending its mission range and time, and increasing the chances the aircraft will survive.  

This in turns means forces on the ground can stay more concealed by minimizing the time they have to be exposed while picking up supplies. The video included here shows the new drone in action.

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