Tech: U.S. military wants to develop a ‘vampire’ drone that vanishes in the daylight

The U.S. military wants to create a futuristic drone capable of physically vanishing just a few hours after carrying supplies to troops on a battlefield. The impetus for this new initiative, which was posted online by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) just a few days ago, is to solve the logistical and strategic problems involved in trying to bring drones and other supply vehicles back to base during battle or on covert operations.

In some circumstances, operational security mandates that no supply vehicles are to be left behind following a mission, thus creating something of a catch-22 when troops in the field are in dire need of supplies.

The solution? A drone that vanishes within four hours of delivering supplies or within 30 minutes of twilight, whichever is earlier.

“Supply and re-supply of small military and civilian teams in difficult to access territory currently requires the use of large, parachute-based delivery systems that must be packed-out after receipt of the payload both for operational security and environmental concerns,” DARPA writes. “Small items including additional batteries, communications devices, or medical supplies – especially those requiring cold storage – could be supplied/resupplied using low-cost, disposable aircraft to sniper or Special Forces teams operating in difficult to access areas.”

In one scenario envisioned by DARPA, these futuristic drones would be able to deliver important emergency supplies, such as vaccines and blood, to troops in remote locations when traditional medical evacuation or treatment procedures aren’t feasible.


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