ATAK Used by USMC For Drone Control

Here’s an article on how the Marine Corps is using ATAK for Drone control and resupply.

From the article,

Since the Civil War, the US military has been famous for wholesale logistics, building “iron mountains” of supplies. But now we might be entering an era of retail, robotic resupply. The Marines pioneered the idea of supply drones with the K-MAX unmanned helicopter in Afghanistan, which could carry three tons of cargo, but this iteration is dramatically smaller, delivering just five pounds at a time.

Why the Marines? Admittedly, they’re not alone in this experiment. Most of the drones and the software to control them — called ATAK, Android Tactical Assault Kit— were originally developed by DARPA, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Army for reconnaissance. But it was a Marine reservist, transport officer Maj. Chris Thobaben, who had the idea to repurpose the drones for logistics after seeing too many comrades killed or wounded on supply runs in Iraq. It was Marine generals, who’ve made a point of fostering young innovators, who gave Thobaben room to run.

Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Christopher Thobaben holding a tablet used to control the drones.

The Marines have always been the most expeditionary of the armed services, trained to travel light. What’s more, their new concept of distributed operations calls for them to spread out in small, fast-moving units to make themselves hard targets for precision-guided weapons. So how do you keep these scattered troops supplied, without tying them to vulnerable supply lines or forcing them to carry everything on their backs?

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