Bell APT Demonstrates Aerial Resupply Capability


Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) recently reached a new milestone, demonstrating its ability to airdrop supplies. With an eye toward military resupply missions, the APT is capable of hauling two standard tactical packs and can carry a maximum payload of 100 pounds. According to Bell, the packs can be dropped at separate locations and are suitable for carrying supplies such as such as ammo cans, water, medical supplies and fuel.

“This speed bag resupply feature is a game changer for the warfighter,” said Mike Goodwin, Bell sales and strategy manager. “With the ability to drop supplies quickly and efficiently in a drop zone or a remote location, we can get critical supplies delivered as soon as they’re needed.”

The Bell APT 70, which completed its first autonomous flight in August 2019, measures 9 feet wide and 6 feet tall with a gross weight of 364 pounds. It has a top speed of 100 MPH and range of 35 miles. A smaller version, the APT 20, is also in development. Bell reports that the APT flight test program has currently completed over 420 flights.

Video: Bell
Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I’m convinced that all these electric toys are a distraction. Existing helicopters of all flavors are acquiring more capabilities everyday and don’t get the aggressive hype reporting that the eVTOLs get. HeliSAS autopilot by Genesys installed in a helicopter as small as a Robinson R66 and as large as a K-Max that can do much of what this demo shows. That’s just the market available technology.

    Why wouldn’t the military just trailer an Autonomous Robinson size helicopter around with +200 mile range and +500 pound loads?

    • …probably because an autonomous R66 would be multiple times as expensive to purchase, orders of magnitude more expensive to maintain and operate, need much more infrastructure to operate, and much more difficult to transport, thus not meeting the intended role.

    • 200 of these cheap drones could resupply 400 troops, and if they swarm in, 75% would get through. The same weight carried by one bigger heli would probably not make it through.