US Army tests DRONES to deliver blood and medical supplies in dangerous battlefield situations

Author: Nishu November 21, 2022


The US Army tested drones to deliver medical supplies during dangerous battlefield scenarios to wounded warriors.

During a recent training exercise in California led by the US with militaries of other nations, drones dropped simulated blood and other crucial medical supplies to soldiers as part of Project Crimson. This type of technology would be deployed in circumstances where it would not be safe to send people on foot for help.

The drone is a vertical landing and take-off aircraft, so it doesn’t need a runway or catapult launch to perform this life-saving mission, according to the Army.

That feature allows soldiers to preserve life in the early phase immediately after an injury and helps to facilitate transportation to an Army hospital.

The US Army tested drones to deliver medical supplies during dangerous battlefield scenarios to wounded warriors

During a recent training exercise in California led by the US with militaries of other nations, drones dropped simulated blood and other crucial medical supplies to soldiers as part of Project Crimson.

That drone can allow soldiers to preserve life in the early phase immediately after an injury and help to facilitate transportation to an Army hospital

‘Project Crimson is a project to take a common unmanned air system and adapt it to support a medical mission,’ said Nathan Fisher, Medical Robotics and Autonomous Systems division chief at the US Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center, in a statement.

‘This drone supports medical field care when casualty evacuation isn’t an option. It can keep whole blood and other crucial items refrigerated in the autonomous portable refrigeration unit and take it to medics in the field with wounded warriors.’

The Army used a FVR-90 drone from L3Harris Technologies for Project Crimson.

In flight, the craft flies like a fixed-wing plane for 12 to 18 hours, it can operate from land and sea, and it has a payload capacity of up to 22 pounds.

Johns Hopkins University researchers first demonstrated that blood could be delivered by drone in 2015. A study in the April 2022 issue of Lancet Global Health demonstrated the drone delivery of blood in rural and mountainous regions of Africa was fast and safe.

Other than the drones, the Army also tested a range of other distant communication and diagnostic tools for battlefield use.

‘This drone supports medical field care when casualty evacuation isn’t an option. It can keep whole blood and other crucial items refrigerated in the autonomous portable refrigeration unit and take it to medics in the field with wounded warriors’

In flight, the craft flies like a fixed-wing plane for 12 to 18 hours, it can operate from land and sea, and it has a payload capacity of up to 22 pounds.

One of those tools is called Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit (BATDOK), which is a smartphone app that can also work with sensors placed on patients to scan vitals and other information and then store it on the device.

That information would then be shared with other devices, via wi-fi or Bluetooth, giving medics in the field a simple way to transfer patient health information to the point of transfer.

‘The facility can see the patient’s status in real-time using BATDOK, while the medics on the ground can update treatments and medications for the patients as well,’ explained Michael Sedillo, an integrated cockpit sensing program airman systems director with the Air Force Research Laboratory, in a statement.

‘This allows the facility to be alerted, rally and prepare to treat the patient once they are transported,’ he added.

‘The ability to have these technologies at hand has enhanced medical field care tremendously,’ said Capt. Morgan Plowman, a nurse with the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.

‘To take a tablet or phone to input personnel data has increased the communication down the line and accuracy of field care. So much so that the rate of patient care has increased to the point that caring for a casualty from start to finish has sped up dramatically.’

Johns Hopkins University researchers first demonstrated that blood could be delivered by drone in 2015.

21 November, 2022, 10:49 pm

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