US Marine Corps.
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Marines Look into Unmanned Vehicles for Logistics Deployments

July 18, 2016
The military is pursuing technologies, such as unmanned vehicles to advance lift and distribution missions and supply and maintenance work.

For Marines deployed in areas that are unable to use the traditional logistics model, the Marine Corp is exploring the use of unmanned vehicles, additive manufacturing and “sense-and-respond logistics to solve the issue.

Resupplying of fuel, water and ammunition have moved from ship to shore and then loaded on trucks, however that will change said Logistics Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, as reported by Megan Eckstein of USNI News.  The service is pursuing technologies to advance lift and distribution missions, supply and maintenance work, and medical requirements, Dana said.

And this would include unmanned vehicles in all domains.  Dana pointed to the military’s experience with K-MAX in Afghanistan, which was “very good for getting goods out, very good for geo-isolated, very remote locations. And it was very user-friendly.”

Dana said that he could see manned CH-53K carrying  a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) into the battlefield, while a couple unmanned vehicles brought 4,000 pounds of ammunition or other supplies that the JLTV would need.

Other unmanned vehicles that are being considered includes Motor-T community, which is the second largest in the corps, behind infantry.

He also said he’d like to pursue unmanned surface craft to bring goods from ship to shore. This would work with small vehicles would be placed on the  cean floor and activated at a later time, swimming to a designated location and bringing along the supplies stored inside whenever an operator sent out the electronic signal. A small UAV could fly over and send out the signal, he said, and a larger UUV could be sent out to distribute the undersea cache vehicles, further exploiting unmanned technology.

“So it’s my belief that for the next 10 to 15 years it’s a hybrid logistics model, so you’ve got to move a lot of water, fuel and ammo to the battlefield to a heavier, more logistics-dependent force, but the way you offset that is bringing along these new technologies, the first being unmanned capability.”

Read more on how technology will enhance military logistics. 

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