The AATI flight crew pictured with the UAS used during the mission. The custom-built aircraft is roughly 10 feet across in length.

The Defense Logistics Agency manages the global supply chain – from raw materials to end user to disposition – for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, 10 combatant commands, other federal agencies, and partner and allied nations. One of their key roles is providing food & water to first responders after disasters.

On July 24th and 25th, AATI, in partnership with the New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey Innovation Institutes Unmanned Aviation Systems Test Site, the Delaware River & Bay Authority and the DLA, successfully conducted two unmanned aircraft systems research flights, at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in Cape May, New Jersey.

An AATI flight crew member oversees the UAS operation immediately after payload delivery on the USCGC Lawrence LawsonnnThe custom-designed aircraft took off from the Ferry Terminal and set out on a land-to-land delivery target where emergency sustenance was delivered. The aircraft then performed a second mission which involved delivering that same sustenance payload from the Cape May Ferry Terminal to the fast-response cutter USCGC Lawrence Lawson off the coast of Cape May. For purposes of this mission, the payload consisted of First Strike Ration (FSR) meals and a case of water totaling 50 pounds. Both target locations (ship and land) were located approximately 1 mile away from the takeoff zone. nn“I could not be more proud of the AATI team,” said Nate Ernst, the mission commander for the operation. “The Defense Logistics agency is looking to new methods of emergency response. We are honored to help provide solutions that may one day save lives utilizing unmanned aircraft systems.”

Finding innovative supply chain solutions for warfighters supporting natural disasters, serving in austere environments or aboard ships is one of DLA Troop Support’s enduring goals. Subsistence’s successful tests not only meets that mark but may lead to future solutions. Additionally, these flights have generated extremely large data sets that will facilitate in-depth analysis of the flight characteristics of the utilized UAS while operating at minimum and maximum loads.

AATI is an industry leading provider of airborne intelligence, communication systems, and services for enterprise. Designed to address the requirements of critical infrastructure operators and emergency responders. AATI has been flying long-endurance UAS “beyond visual line of sight” (BVLOS) in the National Airspace System since 2010. AATI has operated under eleven FAA-approved Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) and completed hundreds of safe and successful BVLOS UAS flights across the country.

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