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Research and Testing of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for the Delivery of Food and Supplies in Support of Contingency Operations


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Info Systems, Materials, Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: Develop and promote innovative UAS delivery solutions in support of contingency operations and natural disaster relief efforts in the Subsistence Supply Chain. This research seeks to identify and test UAS drone technology that reacts quickly in support of mobilization operations such as disaster relief efforts. This research effort leverages current technologies in the UAS drone industry to test the delivery of food and water to a specified location, simulating an area affected by natural disasters in the United States. 

DESCRIPTION: Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support Subsistence topics of interest are research focused on a Continental United States based UAS/Drone delivery service in support of contingency operations and natural disaster relief efforts. This requirement consists of pick-up, transfer, and delivery of payloads/pallets varying in weight delivered to military or civilian personnel intact and suitable for their intended use. The research project shall involve use of Commercial/Industry UAS systems that: • Supports a joint effort with DLA Troop Support and the Coast Guard to conduct research and testing of effective UAS drone delivery in the event of natural disasters and other relief efforts. • Significantly reduce transportation lead times for field feeding systems by providing food/general supplies to the warfighter assisting with relief efforts. • Aims to improve supply chain logistics support through leveraging commercial supply chain practices, as many large corporations in the private sector are researching this topic. • Benefits DoD/DLA by providing a more efficient and faster delivery of goods to military personnel and a quicker response time in the event of natural disaster relief efforts. • Increases efficiency in the delivery process when other delivery methods are unavailable due to austere weather conditions effects from natural disasters. • Effectively demonstrates delivery of essential subsistence commodities during a simulated contingency efforts in an innovative way. Currently, there are no other initiatives in progress that are concerned with the delivery of food in this manner. 

PHASE I: The research and development goals of Phase I are to provide Small Business eligible Research and Development firms the opportunity to successfully demonstrate how the UAS Drone Delivery concept of operations will deliver food and supplies in a contingency environment. A concept of operations will be created by the vendor for the planning and execution of payload deliveries utilizing UAS in support of disaster relief in the CONUS. The concept of operations should include a plan to mobilize and initiate flights as soon as possible following the receipt of an execution order. The UAS should be capable of pick-up, transfer and delivery of up to a 500lb payload. This requirement is in support of contingency operations and/or natural disaster relief efforts. The intent of this requirement is to successfully deliver the payload consisting of at minimum Meals-Ready-To-Eat (MREs) and Bottled Water. The deliverables for this project will include a final report including a cost breakdown of courses of action. 

PHASE II: Based on the research and testing results, and concept of operations developed during Phase I, the research and development goals of Phase II will emphasize the execution of the UAS/Drone Delivery System in accordance with the concept of operations as required in the event of a natural disaster. The operations will be in place across the United States at various sites in specific regions mutually agreed upon between DLA Troop Support and the vendor. 

PHASE III: At this point, no specific funding is associated with Phase III. Progress made in Phase I and Phase II should result in a vendor’s qualification as an approved source for UAS support enabling participation in future procurements. COMMERCIALIZATION: The manufacturer will pursue commercialization of the various UAS technologies and processes developed in prior phases as well as potential commercial sales of manufactured mechanical parts or other items. 


1: DoD Manual1338.10, DoD Food Service Manual


3:  TB MED 530/NAVMED P-5010-1/AFMAN 48-147_IP, "Tri-Service Food Code," October 7, 2013


KEYWORDS: Drones, UAS, Food And Supplies 


Gloria Edwards 

(571) 767-1674 

Denise Price 

(571) 767-0111 

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