The MEL Group in the UK has manufactured the revolutionary 28ft (8.5m) wingspan autonomous glider. The Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone was announced by Yates Electrospace Corporation (YEC), world leaders in heavy payload, unmanned cargo delivery solutions at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) show in London.

The company said in a press release published on the occasion, “Silent Arrow is the world’s first production-ready, 1-ton, autonomous cargo aircraft, which delivers up to 1,631 lb (740 kg) of supplies at less than half the cost of JPADS [Joint Precision Airdrop System] with more than double the glide ratio, dramatically improved landing accuracy, zero vertical impact force and with far greater stealth.”

Silent arrow drone

What’s new?

Both the tactical resupply and the humanitarian / disaster relief markets are the two areas that Silent Arrow addresses. YEC has sent distribution agreements in 34 territories including the UK, the European Union, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Brazil, and India. “We are pleased to welcome The MEL Group into the growing Silent Arrow production and distribution network as a key partner in our pioneering mission to bring immediate and life-saving air response to civilians and militaries operating in harm’s way,” said Yates Electrospace Corporation CEO Chip Yates. “The GD-2000 being unveiled at the DSEI show is the flagship in a rapidly expanding product line including single-use, ruggedized and reusable, scaled-down, scaled-up, unpowered gliders and electrically powered cargo delivery aircraft.”

Specification highlights of the Silent Arrow GD-2000:

· Gross Weight: 2,000lbs (907 kg)
· Cargo Weight: 1,631lbs (740 kg)
· Cargo Volume: 26cu/ft (.75 cu/m)
· Glide Ratio: 8.4:1
· Stall Speed @1,000lbs: 62kts, @2,000lbs: 92kts
· Standoff: 40 miles
· Logistics: 28ft wingspan (4 spring-deployed wings) stowed in 2ft x 2ft x 8ft fuselage

YEC has led an ongoing flight test program since 2017, in military airspace and civilian airspace. It has both rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft ranging from light Bell helicopters, up to the UH-1 “Huey”, and the C-130 with deployment altitudes from as low as 1,500 feet AGL up to 25,000 feet MSL. Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone which had been on display from September 10-13, 2019 at the DSEI Show, ExCel London.