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Precision aerial delivery systems (PADS) deliver payloads for strategic and operational logistical resupply with a predetermined accuracy specification. These devices include onboard, remotely controlled systems for loitering over an area. While payloads can vary from 10s to 1000s of pounds, there is an interest in the ability to take advantage of UAVs and lightweight parafoils to provide reliable delivery of size and weight limited equipment and supplies to geographically dispersed people in austere locations and environments.
Research at the Naval Postgraduate School is directed toward design and applicability of these ultra-light PADS as they have the potential to offer fewer complications than alternative delivery means, reduce exposure to risk and loss, lower cost, and increase range and endurance capability. Parafoil-based systems, including micro lightweight (MLW) systems for delivery of 10 – 150 lbs., and a ultra-lightweight (ULW) system for 250 – 700 lbs., payloads could play a vital role in providing aerial delivery of therapeutics, medical equipment, combat care kits, combat critical care systems, expendable re-supply items for biological detection systems, prophylaxis medicines, and robot and sensor systems. They can drop from high altitudes and vast standoff distances (to keep aircraft and aircrew out of harm’s way), and an airborne guidance unit can guide them to the predetermined target with the anticipated accuracy of 50 – 150 meters.
Parafoil PADS related technology from the NPS is embodied in six US patents including 9,331,773; 8,818,581; 8,489,256; 8,483,891; 8,437,891; and 8,800,930.
This US patent 8,818,581 describes the electronic control unit which performs such functions as receiving the landing location, determining a flight path, and controlling the flight path.
- Access to field testing sites and facilities
- Parachute and parafoil modeling
- Parameter identification
- Guidance, navigation and control algorithms design
- Computer, hardware-in-the-loop and field testing
- Trajectory reconstruction/analysis based on onboard sensor data
- Multiple UAV and ADS networking/collaborative control
- US patent 8,818,581 available for license
- Five additional related patents available for license
- Potential collaboration with NPS researchers