Military, academia successfully test drones delivering supplies to troops


In an effort to find innovative solutions to deliver supplies for warfighters, the military and academia partnered together and successfully tested the use of drones delivering food and water to troops both on land and sea.

The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, in partnership with the New Jersey Institute of Technology Unmanned Aviation Systems Test Site, conducted two unmanned aircraft systems research flights hosted by the Delaware River and Bay Authority July 24-25 at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in Cape May, New Jersey.

The research flights consisted of two, one-mile flights to learn about the potential use of UAS to deliver supplies to areas that may be inaccessible by normal delivery methods, such as a combat environment or during disaster relief efforts. The goal was to test the capability of the UAS to carry a 50-pound payload and generate flight data for research and analysis by NJUASTS.

The UAS initially transported a case of First Strike Rations and a case of bottled water from the terminal to a delivery point at the New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center to evaluate its land-to-land capabilities. The next day it transported the same load from the terminal to the fast response cutter USCGC Lawrence Lawson off the coast of Cape May to evaluate its land-to-sea-to-land capabilities.

After two days of test flights, Nick McGinty, DLA Troop Support’s subsistence industrial base planning chief, declared mission complete.

“I was absolutely ecstatic when the efforts and hard work were validated,” McGinty said. “I was amazed to see that the payload was delivered intact and ready for its intended use and the UAS returned to the launch site safely.”

According to Nicholas Faillace, the contracting officer for the project, DLA Troop Support is involved in reoccurring natural disaster relief efforts and contingency operations. The drone test flight served as the first step in the agency’s efforts to test new capabilities.

“This drone delivery proof of concept will pave the way for a future approach to deliver subsistence items to areas that would be obstructed due to some natural disaster,” Faillace added.

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. The successful drone tests not only meets that mark, but may lead to future solutions.

DLA Troop Support is a major subordinate command of the Defense Logistics Agency and is responsible for five supply chains that provide our nation’s military and government partners with: food and feeding equipment; clothing and textile items; construction and equipment materiel; medical materiel and pharmaceuticals; and industrial hardware consumable repair parts.

As the nation’s combat logistics support agency, DLA 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. For more information about DLA, go to:, or





A Coast Guardsman aboard the USCGC Lawrence Lawson off the coast of Cape May, New Jersey awaits the arrival of an unmanned aircraft system transporting a case of First Strike Rations and a case of bottle water from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in Cape May, New Jersey, July 25, 2019. The UAS test flight was conducted to learn about the potential use of UAS to deliver materials to areas applicable in supporting warfighters in austere environments and on ships, in addition to continental United States disaster relief. (Photo by Alexandria Brimage-Gray /DLA Troop Support)