Silent Arrow has announced that the Air Force branch of a US ally-conducted cargo delivery operations in the Middle East using Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drones.

The operation was conducted under a $1.5m operational evaluation contract.

Around 465kg of an undisclosed cargo load was placed inside the 26ft³ fuselage of two GD-2000s for this mission. The gross vehicle weight of each unit stood at 689kg, below Silent Arrow’s certified max gross of 907kg.

Silent Arrow stated that two C-130s were deployed for the operation.

In a statement, Silent Arrow said: “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.”

According to the contract, 12 Block 1 GD-2000s are on station in the Middle East presently.

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By GlobalData

Furthermore, around 15 Block 2 units are undergoing production at Silent Arrow’s Irvine, California centre, with the delivery scheduled in H1 2022.

As of now, nearly 45 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Silent Arrow GD-2000s were developed.

Full rate production (FRP), which will deliver thousands of units, is projected to start next year.

Silent Arrow founder and CEO Chip Yates said: “As we prepare for mass production, it’s encouraging to see foreign allied governments as enthusiastic about the new capabilities Silent Arrow brings to the warfighter as the US military has been.

“We have distribution agreements in place for 37 countries so far and are working hard to become the worldwide standard for airdrop logistics.”

Silent Arrow autonomous cargo delivery aircraft were primarily developed to replace US Marine Corps’ GPS-steered parachutes (JPADS).

Eventually, the firm secured contracts from all four US military service branches for Silent Arrow GD-2000, Silent Arrow Widebody, and Silent Arrow Precision Guided Bundle.

Last November, Silent Arrow won a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract to provide 15 precision-guided cargo delivery drones for the US Air Force (USAF).