One of the biggest challenges facing humanitarian organizations operating in active warzones is in delivering medical goods and food supplies to besieged civilians. Windhorse Aerospace of Britain has a possible solution to this need through its "Pouncer" UAV. The private-venture aircraft, a low-cost, low-risk system, could quite possibly change the humanitarian mission considerably if the project comes to fruition.
The Pounder is an unpowered, lightweight glider drone intended to be air- or catapult-launched. Its payload consists solely of medical supplies and food stuffs and the airframe is designed to break apart, after achieving a nose-up attitude and deploying a parachute, upon landing so as to not be reused by enemy elements. The body of the aircraft is also designed to be burned as a heat source while a later version may very well be constructed of extruded vegetable for direct consumption - making the Pouncer an "edible" UAV. The onboard guidance system is of a basic GPS arrangement allowing for autonomous functionality and this component is destroyed along with the airframe when crash-landed.
The Pouncer was modeled after the capabilities inherent in human "wing suits" and company engineers utilized this available data and coupled it to a delta-winged shape featuring a tubular centralized fuselage and winglets at the wingtips. No undercarriage is featured which saves on weigh, costs, and production time. The system can remain airborne for twenty miles and glide far beyond that when released from the open rear of a host ship like the Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport at altitudes of 25,000 feet.
Three distinct versions of the Pounder are planned as the Mk.1, Mk.2, and Mk.3. The Mk.1 and Mk.2 models are the air-launched variants differing in size (the Mk.1 is the smallest of the lot). Mk.1 will have a payload capacity of up to 44lb while Mk.2 will showcase a payload nearing 110lb. Mk.3, the largest of the group, is set to have the capacity for up to 220lb of cargo.