In examining forward area air cargo systems, this paper compares externally loaded helicopters with ground transport, fixed wing, and high speed VTOL. The operation at Khe Sanh, Vietnam is used as an illustration.
There is a need for a series of helicopters of various sizes -- compatible with other transport systems, and designed for standard intermodal cargo containers. The need is being partly filled at present. From present experience, future designs are projected.
To exploit the full potential of this new supply concept, however, involves more than the air vehicle itself. Aerial resupply capability at the retail level will depend ultimately on load sizes and shapes, delivery frequency, number of delivery personnel, locations of forward area supply centers, fixed wing-rotary wing transfer systems, and upon the force available to protect delivery routes.
When the forward area aerial resupply system is in full use, logistics problems will no longer restrict Army mobility.