Accession Number:



Evaluation of Expedient Surfaces for Remote Piloted Aircraft

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

ERDC-GSL Vicksburg United States

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The U.S. military began using remote piloted aircraft RPAs for reconnaissance and offensive operations in the mid-1990s. Their effectiveness has led to the development of several new airframes with increasing capability and operational requirements. RPA ground movements are ideally separated from manned aircraft traffic areas with their own parking aprons and hangar facilities. For expedient construction of RPA facilities, a matting system is desired to rapidly create parking aprons and hangar flooring. This report describes the evaluation of four commercially available airfield matting systems that were investigated to determine their capabilities for supporting RPAs and support vehicle operations. Each mat system was tested on a full-scale test section consisting of a subgrade with a California bearing ratio CBR of 6 surfaced with the airfield mats. Simulated MQ-9A Reaper and P-19 fire truck traffic was applied to the mat surface. Mat breakage and deformation were monitored and compared to performance requirements for compliance. Recommendations were provided for each mat system based on suitability and risk to aid in future procurement decisions.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Mechanics

Distribution Statement: