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Disposable Plywood Glider Drones

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posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 07:37 PM
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Logistics Gliders Inc just completed testing for the USMC of drone gliders made from plywood. These are intended to be disposable UAVs to drop supplies to troops. They can be dropped from helicopters or even from cargo planes. The most expensive bit about them is probably the electronics and even those are pretty cheap: they're cheaper than the JPADS or CDS systems currently used and the plan is to get the gliders down to less than $1k each.

LGI is working on two versions, one to carry 300 kg and another to carry 700 kg. Their range is about 110 km (about 68 miles).

Pretty basic and pretty cool at the same time.

Not exactly a hypersonic or stealthy or cylon bird, but could have some great potential for logistics out in less than friendly areas.

spectrum.ieee.org...




posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 07:51 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I've only skimmed the article- but it looks like they're after fat military contract money.
The current system does for 6-11k for what they do for ten times that...?

The range is an interesting twist, and with modern cheap computers they could fly very low and very quiet- but they're going to be electric, expensive, and complex- unreliable.

Curious they'd use plywood, though. It's wood and glue- expensive, heavy, and weak compared to the thousands of better options out there. Carboard and wire coathangers would be a better start.



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 07:58 PM
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a reply to: lordcomac




The range is an interesting twist, and with modern cheap computers they could fly very low and very quiet- but they're going to be electric, expensive, and complex- unreliable.
It's a glider.


Production versions of the gliders are expected to have a glide ratio approximately equal to 15 to 1.


Not too terrible, for a flying box.


The prototype gliders for the RAIN program weigh 400 pounds (lb) empty without the optional landing parachute. The glider is 12.7 feet (ft) long with a 23.2 ft wingspan. An extended range (ER) version has a 27.2 ft wingspan which provides a 14% improvement in glide ratio, but adds 37 lb to the glider empty weight, see figure 2. The glider cargo volume is about 42 cubic ft without the landing parachute installed and 36 cubic ft when it is installed. Payload capacity is up to 1,800 lb.


www.researchgate.net...



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 08:52 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Pretty cool. It’s not easy to get an 1800# payload out of a plywood glider.



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 08:59 PM
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a reply to: anzha

There was some YPG work around testing this. Not sure how much is out there.

There are a couple similar types from this particular contractor. There are also some larger designs designs geting a work through that look more like flying wings that are responsive to a different, but closely related, program.

These guys are on the right track, but they didn't really plan on success, I gather. Lots of work still to simplify the production process and eventually (if funded) contract production out to subs. It's still not priced quite right, and it's worth a look to see how many of the more expensive components might be suitable to reuse.

It's not completely crazy, but it's a lot less efficient than just bringing in a C-17 or C-130 to an advanced field or LAPES well-behind the lines, and then trucked up to the line. That's not always an option due to threats or lack of semi-prepared strips. Possible use after an opposed landing mostly explains the Marine interest. We'll see where it goes.



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 09:13 PM
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a reply to: lordcomac

You can't deliver that weight with cardboard and wire hangers.

You're on to something though because there are some rather smaller projects using that technique which also... Erm... Let's say, melt (though that's not technically correct).



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 09:15 PM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

Just want to point out, that there were troops dropped behind enemy lines on D-Day, from plywood gliders. 100% no-# and they would have payloads in that range easy, some of them even carried Jeeps.

Full disclosure, they were constructed of steel, canvas, plywood, and human bodies.

www.asme.org...


edit on 26-3-2019 by Archivalist because: Source



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 10:49 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

I also think they didn't expect to be successful. However, they seem to be working out, but slowly. It's a cheap investment on the grand scheme of things and could be a rather useful, cheap tool. Even if it cost $1M to develop, it'd be an amazingly cheap program.

I'd think opposed landings or situations where getting too close would be dangerous, contested islands, frex.



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:01 PM
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a reply to: anzha



For Amphibious Ships:
• Gliders increase ship standoff distance from shore-based threats such as cruise missiles.
• Gliders improve carrier aircraft’s radius of action – e.g., 20% increase for MV-22 missions to a single point of
need and more than 50% increase for MV-22 missions to multiple points of need.
• An amphibious ship’s Air Combat Element (ACE) could deploy up to 50 gliders an hour because the MV-22 and
CH-53 aircraft could carry multiple gliders simultaneously.


The more you (they) think about it, the better it sounds. Cheap, and safe, logistical support for the troops landed by LCACs. The thing folds up like a cardboard box until you need it.

50 x 1,800 = 45 tons/hr

Well, that might be a bit optimistic. Some are bound to get shot down. Because...gliders.

So some are decoys.

I just like gliders. A lot.

edit on 3/26/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/26/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:16 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I'm pretty sure a different team is going to win a contract that makes this shrivel up.

Not exactly the same requirements. They have a flying coffin that is stackable, has tandem wings. About half the payload, but takes up about a third of the space. Takes even less space before assembly which can be completed in minutes. More expensive, but less fragile and you can load quite a bit more of them into a cargo hold. Also comes with an optional power package, so conceivably reusable (ie, fly it out after delivery).

We shall see.



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:18 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Also comes with an optional power package


Oh yeah? Well...this one has an optional parachute.

I wonder if they can be programmed to soar. Catch a couple thermals and extend the range to way far.

edit on 3/26/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:25 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Biggest challenge teams are facing is cost followed closely by the math that says total weight is larger than useful payload. So in that example instead of your Osprey carrying 20,000lbs of beans, bullets, and gas as they say, your Osprey is carrying 12,000 lbs of beans, bullets, and gas and 8,000 lbs of glider.

Which means I need five Ospreys to deliver 60,000 lbs instead of three. Which may take additional time, burns extra gas, ties up my Ospreys for other missions/deliveries, etc.

Makes a lot more sense on high payload, high volume fixed wing cargo planes, but the same math factors a bit.



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:32 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert



your Osprey is carrying 12,000 lbs of beans, bullets, and gas and 8,000 lbs of glider.

8,000 lbs of cheap glider to get shot at instead of the Osprey and crew. I think that's the point. Sort of like the old Soviet doctrine. Build 'em cheap and plenty.

(Seeing V22s fairly often at the local base. Still look weird as hell.)




edit on 3/26/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:45 PM
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a reply to: Phage

It's a very niche market. When was the last time the Marines made an opposed landing? Incheon? They had effective air superiority and a long interdiction campaign beforehand. Iraq was basically unopposed with complete air dominance.

SOCOM on the otherhand might be pretty interested in something they can drop from high altitude and several miles out...



posted on Mar, 26 2019 @ 11:47 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Yeah, well, good point. If I saw this coming I just might run away.


2 - 12.7mm MGs. Gun mounts will support: M-2HB .50 cal machine gun; Mk-19 Mod3 40mm grenade launcher; M-60 machine gun
edit on 3/26/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 27 2019 @ 12:05 AM
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LCACs are pretty nifty. They are in a weird cycle right now where they need more, but they're retiring old ones before the new models come off the line.

Marines are in a bit of a pickle in general as their raison d'etre is sort of obsolete in a general conflict. But on the other hand an ARG or MEU is exceptionally versatile and useful in peacetime. They really, really need to keep proving they should still exist. "What function exactly is the Marine Corps performing that cannot be done by a combination of Navy and Army assets" is a never-ending question at the Pentagon.



posted on Mar, 27 2019 @ 12:11 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Wha' about the Air Force? Got something against the Air Force do you?

No worries. The budget is growing by leaps and bounds.



posted on Mar, 27 2019 @ 12:11 AM
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One thing I didn't see mentioned was where they plan on storing all these gliders. I've been on a MEU. Once you load up the ACE, the ground elements and all the supplies an LHD doesn't have a ton of room left. The well deck is filled up with LCACs, vehicles and storage boxes. Below the flightdeck is taken up by helicopters, harriers, V-22s, and spares. The flight deck itself is more aircraft. To be able to fit the gliders, they'll have to sacrifice something else. Unless they fold up into a smaller space than I am imagining. Now if they just use them from land-based operations, there is not issue of course as far as storage is concerned.



posted on Mar, 27 2019 @ 12:12 AM
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a reply to: JJRichey

Picture a cardboard box made out of 1/4" MDO. That's the idea.

edit on 3/27/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 27 2019 @ 12:38 AM
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a reply to: JJRichey

They can get 36 gliders into a 40' ISO container.

So not huge, but as you note, space is at a premium on board.

The math works better for the large cargo aircraft than rotary-wing or the Ospreys.




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