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Leidos and Elroy Air to Demonstrate Autonomous Aerial Resupply Drone for US Marine Corps

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Leidos and Elroy Air to Demonstrate Autonomous Aerial Resupply Drone for US Marine Corps

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Leidos and Elroy Air to Demonstrate Autonomous Aerial Resupply Drone for US Marine Corps
Leidos and Elroy Air to Demonstrate Autonomous Aerial Resupply Drone for US Marine Corps

Leidos, a FORTUNE® 500 innovation company, and Elroy Air, an autonomous aircraft systems and software development company, have been approved to demonstrate an autonomous Medium Aerial Resupply Vehicle – Expeditionary Logistics (MARV-EL) prototype for the Navy and Marine Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office (PMA-263). The flight test activities are scheduled for July 2024. The development and testing are part of a contract awarded last year to develop and demonstrate an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) that can autonomously resupply forward-deployed ground forces for the U.S. Marine Corps. Leidos and Elroy Air are slated to demonstrate Elroy Air’s Chaparral system at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG), Yuma, Arizona. The Chaparral is a “lift-plus-cruise” hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (hVTOL) cargo aircraft.

“We’re excited to work with Leidos to provide these critical capabilities to U.S. 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 battlespace without putting crews in harm’s way. We look forward to demonstrating these capabilities and working towards serving the U.S. Marine Corps’ goals for expeditionary logistics.”

“Leidos is pleased to team with Elroy Air to bring this critical capability to the warfighter,” said Tim Freeman, Leidos senior vice president and Airborne Systems business area manager. “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.”

Leidos and Elroy Air will demonstrate the Chaparral aircraft at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG), Yuma, Arizona, this summer.
Leidos and Elroy Air will demonstrate the Chaparral aircraft at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG), Yuma, Arizona, this summer. (Photo by Leidos)

The Chaparral system leverages the benefits of wing-borne flight driven by electric propulsion and turbo-generation for efficient autonomous operations and longer-range missions. It is designed with an advanced carbon composite airframe and modular automated payload capabilities to help reduce the personnel required versus legacy aircraft and enable zero-touch logistics. MARV-EL is a PMA-263 effort which is designed to provide commanders with a responsive capability to sustain Marine Corps Forces conducting expeditionary advanced base (EAB)and other distributed operations. MARV-EL, using autonomous operations, should be the ‘middle-weight’ unmanned logistics asset, providing combat sustainment to Marines when ground or manned aviation assets are unavailable due to threat, terrain, weather, or competing priorities.

Leidos is a Fortune 500® innovation company rapidly addressing the world’s most vexing challenges in national security and health. The company’s global workforce of 47,000 collaborates to create smarter technology solutions for customers in heavily regulated industries. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $15.4 billion for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2023.

Elroy Air is developing industry-first autonomous aircraft systems and cutting-edge software, revolutionizing the world of express shipping. Leveraging hybrid-electric and autonomous vehicle technologies, their vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft transcend traditional airport limitations, unlocking new frontiers in commercial air shipping, humanitarian aid, and military logistics. From agile, low-risk resupply for troops, to dynamic disaster response and firefighting support, to warehouse-to-warehouse express parcel transport, their technology reshapes logistics possibilities. With headquarters in South San Francisco and flight test operations in Byron California, Elroy Air is backed by premier venture capital firms including Catapult Ventures, Marlinspike Partners, Snowpoint Ventures, and Shield Capital. Strategic investment from industry giants like Lockheed Martin Ventures and support from visionary angel investors including early Uber executives drive the company’s mission to provide same-day shipping to every person on the planet.

Leidos and Elroy Air will demonstrate the Chaparral lift-plus-cruise hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (hVTOL) cargo aircraft.
Leidos and Elroy Air will demonstrate the Chaparral “lift-plus-cruise” hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (hVTOL) cargo aircraft. (Photo by Leidos)

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