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RAND Arroyo Center evaluated potential logistics applications for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to determine whether they are technically feasible, operationally feasible, and more cost-effective than other options. The study concentrated on reconnaissance and surveillance tasks to secure logistics convoys through overwatch with UAS; route reconnaissance looking for hazards that might endanger logistics convoys; surveillance of pipelines, electrical lines, rivers, supply depots, disaster scenes, and pre-deployment reconnaissance. It also examined the potential for using UAS to locate airdropped cargo that misses the drop zone and to retrograde critical unserviceable items expeditiously. The study identified six factors that could be used to compare UAS and non-UAS based solutions to logistics tasks. The study uncovered significant potential for logistics applications of these systems in the near- and long-term future.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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