USMC Cargo UAV Being Tested in Afghanistan

12/08/2012: A Cargo Resupply Unmanned Aircraft System (CRUAS) with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) lands and takes off on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 1, 2012.

VMU-3 deployed to Afghanistan to support and conduct counter-insurgency operations.

 Credit: Regional Command Southwest: 12/1/12

The Marines being Marines have looked extensively at how such a capability would fit into their overall evolving approach of expeditionary logistics. For example, Lt. Col. Applewhite commented on the results of one such analytical effort as follows:

By testing in the game the impact of a logistics UAV vehicle on operations, we can shape acquisition requirements.  One thing it allows us to do, at the same time that we’re building the requirements for that platform, we can look at how we’re going to employ it and maybe change some of their requirements, add requirements, take requirements away from our original assumptions. 

And that’s a capability that generally hasn’t existed before, because you just go with your assumptions and then when you get that platform, you make the determination of whether or not that’s what you really want it, and then you go back to the acquisitions side an suggest your requirements as seen by both operators and logisticians.