WUHAN, China --- Recently, a combined arms airborne battalion of the PLA Air Force organized a cargo delivery drill using unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) in the mountainous area of northern Hubei Province. During the drill, officers and soldiers used unmanned transport aircraft to conduct such exercises as continuous airdrops, decentralized delivery, fast-roping delivery, wounded evacuation, etc.
Focusing on the development of an intelligent unmanned support system, the PLA Air Force attempted to practice the UAV cargo delivery mode in airborne operations, so as to enhance precise material-delivery capability and ensure continuous airborne combat capability.
According to the chief of the transportation and delivery bureau under the Logistics Department of the PLA Air Force, the unmanned transport aircraft provides a new solution to the so-called “last-mile problem” in airborne combat support operations when the large transport aircraft are unable to reach the remote or decentralized areas. With the continuous improvement of the UAV’s load, range and performance, such a mode will have broad application prospects both in peace time and war time.
At the drill site, the airborne combatants exhausted the ammunition and requested airdropped replenishment. An unmanned transport aircraft equipped with an intelligent airdrop system quickly delivered the airdrop box loaded with ammunition to the target area under the control of the drone pilot. At the same time, another type of UAV hung with emergency supplies including blood plasma rushed to the medical center of the battalion on the battlefield.
"In future battlefields, unmanned systems will play a positive role in improving situational awareness, reducing the burden on soldiers and strengthening the troops’ support capability and maneuverability," said Major Gou Qiang, commander of an airborne battalion of the air force. He introduced that the drill had checked on the UAVs’ positioning and cargo delivery capabilities, as well as air-ground coordinated support capabilities.