The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is evaluating new means to resupply forward units, among the systems to be evaluated is the A160T Hummingbird developed by Boeing under a DARPA program. “The Marines have identified an urgent need for unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver supplies in lieu of putting trucks and personnel on dangerous roads,” said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. “The A160T was designed from inception, as a Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with significant payload-carrying and high-altitude-operation capabilities, so we are confident in its ability to meet the requirements of this critical mission.” The A160T has a 2,500-pound payload capacity. Under the demonstration, Boeing will demonstrate the Hummingbird capability to deliver 2,500 pounds of cargo per day from one simulated forward-operating base to another, in fewer than six hours per day for three consecutive days. The autonomous unmanned aircraft can cruise at a speed exceeding 140 knots hover , and has demonstration hovering capability at an altitude of 20,000 ft.
The Hummingbird will also be used by the U.S. Special Operations Command plans, for the evaluation of the Forester foliage-penetration radar. The helicopters will be deployed with these radars in two Central American countries, early next year (2010) where they will be used to detect suspected hostile activity, concealed below the forest canopy.