There are several drone enthusiasts who build simple drones from scratch using whatever material they could get and electronic systems that they could find on their own workbench. What’s new is, the U.S. military might have just been enlightened on how amazingly useful these low-budget drones could be. It is now developing a very low-cost, low-technology drone made out of plywood and a little amount of aluminum. This drone will be used to carry supplies to the frontline of the ground force and can be disposed of when its job is done.

Why the low budget?

We all do know that the U.S. military has massive funds for the development of new technology. However, this drone has a totally different application scenario. It is let to carry supplies to the ground forces in areas where it is too risky for an air-borne manual mission to effect an entrance into. These drones are not expected to be used again. Thus, once they have carried the supplies to the required destination, they can be disposed of. Spending too much on a disposable drone is not exactly a good idea. Hence, the U.S. Military has turned to the use of these simple Plywood drones with low technological requirements to deliver supplies.

Aerial shot of the Plywood supply drone

Photo from Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory sponsored demo of the glider drone

Tactical Air Delivery

The U.S. military’s Defence Advanced Research Project Agency and Marine Corp. Warfighting Laboratory has developed a contract with Logistics Gliders to develop this low-cost, yet efficient drone. It is called TACAD or Tactical Air Delivery. This drone can carry 700 pounds of payload as of now. They can be dropped to the ground from a cargo plane or from a helicopter sling. They can be pre-programmed to fly through particular waypoints in rough terrains or they can also be controlled remotely. It can land accurately in the given destination using the simple electronics that the glider is equipped with- like GPS modules. It lands by popping a parachute at 200 feet.

A cargo plane dropping off a TACAD

The glider drone being dropped from a cargo plane

This low budget drone has been used in 12 operations so far, six of which were autonomous and six were radio-controlled. Therefore, these drones are extremely useful in ensuring the safety of soldiers who have to carry supplies to dangerous war zones.