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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Peter Tatham, Catherine Ball, Yong Wu and Peter Diplas

While the use of long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems (LE-RPAS) is frequently associated with military operations, their core capabilities of long-range…

Abstract

Purpose

While the use of long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems (LE-RPAS) is frequently associated with military operations, their core capabilities of long-range, low-cost and high-quality optics and communications systems have considerable potential benefit in supporting the work of humanitarian logisticians. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to demonstrate how LE-RPAS could be used to improve the logistic response to a rapid onset disaster.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the response to the Cyclone Pam that struck Vanuatu in March 2015 as an example, this paper provides an overview of how LE-RPAS could be used to support the post-disaster needs assessment and subsequent response processes. In addition, it provides a high-level route map to develop the people, process and technology requirements that would support the operational deployment of the LE-RPAS capabilities.

Findings

On the basis of the analysis of the published literature and the resultant assessment of the benefits of LE-RPAS to support humanitarian logistic (HL) operations, it is concluded that a formal “proof of concept” trial should be undertaken, and the results be made available to the humanitarian community.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is conceptual in nature, but has been developed through an analysis of the literature relating to remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and HLs. A route map through which the paper’s conclusions can be validated is also offered.

Practical implications

LE-RPAS have great potential to provide a swifter understanding of the impact of a disaster, particularly those where the location is remote from the main centres of population. This would allow the affected country’s National Disaster Management Organisation, together with those of supporting countries, to react more efficiently and effectively. In particular, it would allow a swifter transition from a “guess-based” push approach to one that more accurately reflects the disaster’s impact – i.e. a pull-based logistic response.

Social implications

Given the military genesis of RPAS, it will be important to ensure that those engaged in their operation are sensitive to the implications of this. In particular, it will be essential to ensure that any humanitarian operations involving RPAS are undertaken in an ethical way that respects, for example, the privacy and safety of the affected population.

Originality/value

While there is some emerging discussion on the humanitarian-related use of RPAS in the literature, this generally reflects the operation of small aircraft with limited range and payload capabilities. Useful though such RPAS unquestionably are, this paper expands the discussion of how such systems can support the humanitarian logistician by considering the benefits and challenges of operating long-endurance aircraft.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1989

Charles Brown

After a Sunday morning service in York Minster attended by the Synod of the Church of England — comprising the two Archbishops, most of the bishops, and representatives of…

Abstract

After a Sunday morning service in York Minster attended by the Synod of the Church of England — comprising the two Archbishops, most of the bishops, and representatives of the clergy and laity — on 8th July, 1984, many of those present commented on the beauty of the Minster interior, in particular the south transept where sunlight flooded through the great Rose Window.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Peter Tatham, Craig Neal and Yong Wu

Recent advances in aviation technology have seen the development of helium-filled “hybrid cargo airships” (HCAs) which have the potential to convey large payloads over…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent advances in aviation technology have seen the development of helium-filled “hybrid cargo airships” (HCAs) which have the potential to convey large payloads over significant distances at relatively low cost and with a small carbon footprint. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how such HCAs could be used to improve the logistic response to a rapid onset disaster.

Design/methodology/approach

Through consideration of three recent natural disasters (Typhoon Haiyan – The Philippines – 2013; The Nepal Earthquake – 2015; Cyclone Winston – Fiji – 2016), and drawing on both academic and practitioner literature, this paper provides an overview of how HCAs could potentially provide logistic support to those affected by similar disasters. The paper considers two scenarios: one in which the HCA replaces local truck or sea-based transport from an international airport to the disaster area, and the other in which it operates directly from a United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot to the disaster area.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that, when compared with the actual response to these three exemplar disasters, in the first scenario the use of HCAs provides a significantly faster but more expensive response; whereas in the second scenario, the timeline to supply is longer, but the costs are considerably less.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is conceptual in nature, but has been developed through an analysis of the literature related to both HCAs and humanitarian logistics. Given that the emerging generation of HCAs has yet to become fully operational, it will be important to continue to monitor their development and analyse the emerging speed/time/cost parameters in order to ascertain how HCAs might be optimally integrated into the logistic response to a disaster.

Practical implications

The significant cargo carrying capacity of an HCA together with its ability to operate from and into ad hoc locations (including those on water) would enable direct delivery from an international airhead or humanitarian response depot to an affected area. This has clear potential to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility of post-disaster logistic operations.

Originality/value

Whilst there is some emerging discussion of the humanitarian-related use of HCAs in the literature, this generally reflects the technical aspects such as flight control systems and the actual operation of the airships. This paper is the first to offer a practical analysis of how HCAs might be used to support the work of the humanitarian logistician.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Peter Tatham, Frank Stadler, Abigail Murray and Ramon Z. Shaban

Whilst there is a growing body of research which discusses the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) (otherwise known as “drones”) to transport medical supplies…

Abstract

Purpose

Whilst there is a growing body of research which discusses the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) (otherwise known as “drones”) to transport medical supplies, almost all reported cases employ short range aircraft. The purpose of this paper is to consider the advantages and challenges inherent in the use of long endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems (LE-RPAS) aircraft to support the provision of medical supplies to remote locations – specifically “medical maggots” used in maggot debridement therapy (MDT) wound care.

Design/methodology/approach

After introducing both MDT and the LE-RPAS technology, the paper first reports on the outcomes of a case study involving 11 semi-structured interviews with individuals who either have experience and expertise in the use of LE-RPAS or in the provision of healthcare to remote communities in Western Australia. The insights gained from this case study are then synthesised to assess the feasibility of LE-RPAS assisted delivery of medical maggots to those living in such geographically challenging locations.

Findings

No insuperable challenges to the concept of using LE-RPAS to transport medical maggots were uncovered during this research – rather, those who contributed to the investigations from across the spectrum from operators to users, were highly supportive of the overall concept.

Practical implications

The paper offers an assessment of the feasibility of the use of LE-RPAS to transport medical maggots. In doing so, it highlights a number of infrastructure and organisational challenges that would need to be overcome to operationalise this concept. Whilst the particular context of the paper relates to the provision of medical support to a remote location of a developed country, the core benefits and challenges that are exposed relate equally to the use of LE-RPAS in a post-disaster response. To this end, the paper offers a high-level route map to support the implementation of the concept.

Social implications

The paper proposes a novel approach to the efficient and effective provision of medical care to remote Australian communities which, in particular, reduces the need to travel significant distances to obtain treatment. In doing so, it emphasises the importance in gaining acceptance of both the use of MDT and also the operation of RPAS noting that these have previously been employed in a military, as distinct from humanitarian, context.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates how the use of LE-RPAS to support remote communities offers the potential to deliver healthcare at reduced cost compared to conventional approaches. The paper also underlines the potential benefits of the use of MDT to address the growing wound burdens in remote communities. Finally, the paper expands on the existing discussion of the use of RPAS to include its capability to act as the delivery mechanism for medical maggots.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

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