Silent Arrow has secured a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract to deliver 15 precision-guided cargo delivery drones for the US Air Force (USAF).

Awarded by the USAF through the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the contract is titled ‘Guided Bundle Derivative of Silent Arrow for Side Door and Palletised Swarm Deployment at High Speeds and Altitudes’.

The contract went into effect on 12 November.

The contract will see the company work on scaling down its GD-2000 cargo delivery uncrewed aerial system (UAS) and redesign it as a new product line called the Silent Arrow Precision Guided Bundle (SA-PGB)

The SA-PGB will initially be developed as an autonomous cargo delivery glider.

According to Silent Arrow, the SA-PGB is specially designed for the side door and multi-unit ramp deployment.

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It is compatible with delivery aircraft ranging from the civilian Cessna Caravan utility aircraft to the military transport aircraft C-17.

Silent Arrow founder and CEO Chip Yates said: “We’d like to thank the US Special Operations community, the US Air Force, Navy, Army and various other organisations who signed on to support this award for a new life-saving cargo delivery drone.

“We look forward to an exciting flight test programme in 2022 and quickly getting this new capability into the hands of the warfighter and disaster relief organisations alike.”

Design and engineering work involved in the contract will be executed at Silent Arrow’s headquarters in Irvine, California.

The 15 Silent Arrow precision-guided cargo delivery drones will be shipped to the company’s flight test centre in Pendleton, Oregon.

The aircraft will go through operational evaluations at the Pendleton UAS Test Range.

In February 2021, Silent Arrow won a contract to scale down its GD-2000 cargo delivery UAS for undisclosed US military operations.