Leidos and Elroy Air approved to fly autonomous resupply demos for US Navy

Elroy Air

Elroy Air and Leidos have been approved to demonstrate an autonomous resupply drone prototype for an office of the US Naval Air Systems Command. 

The flight testing of the aircraft, known as a Medium Aerial Resupply Vehicle – Expeditionary Logistics (MARV-EL), will take place in July. The result of a contract awarded last year, the Marine Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems programme office are evaluating the potential of using an uncrewed aircraft system that can autonomously resupply US Marine Corps ground forces.

“We’re excited to work with Leidos to provide these critical capabilities to US and allied forces,” said Elroy Air CEO and co-founder Dave Merrill. “We’ve been designing Chaparral from the beginning to move cargo and resupply troops in the battle space without putting crews in harm’s way. We look forward to demonstrating these capabilities and working toward serving the U.S. Marine Corps’ goals for expeditionary logistics.”

The demonstrations of Elroy Air’s Chaparral system are set to take place at the US Army Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. The Chaparral is a hybrid-electric vertical take off and landing (hVTOL) cargo aircraft. The Chaparral system can achieve autonomous operations and longer-range missions due its capability of wing-borne flight driven by electric propulsion and turbo-generation.

Tim Freeman, Leidos senior vice president and Airborne Systems business area manager, said:“Leidos is pleased to team with Elroy Air to bring this critical capability to the warfighter. Approval to proceed to test is a major milestone and is the result of months of hard work by the team. We look forward to demonstrating how the Leidos and Elroy Air MARV-EL solution will help deliver a logistics advantage to the Marines and other branches of the military.”

Dubbed as the “middle-weight” unmanned logistics asset, MARV-EL is being designed to provide commanders with a responsive capability to sustain forward-deployed forces conducting expeditionary advanced base and other distributed operations.