DARPA Presented First Autonomous BLACK HAWK Helicopter

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DARPA Presented First Autonomous BLACK HAWK Helicopter
The DARPA Aircrew Labour In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program completed the first-ever flight of a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter without anyone on board. Sikorsky completed 30-minutes of uninhabited flight with the optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) over the U.S. Army installation at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on February 5th. An additional uninhabited flight was also conducted on February 7th.

The Model A BLACK HAWK aircraft, identifiable by DARPA’s logo and tail number N60-OPV, took off with no crew onboard to show ALIAS ability to adapt to various mission environments. The uninhabited BLACK HAWK navigated at typical speed and altitude through a simulated cityscape, avoiding imagined buildings while re-planning in real-time. All the while, onboard sensor simulation provides real-time obstacle data.

DARPA Presented First Autonomous BLACK HAWK HelicopterThe BLACK HAWK helicopter autonomously executed manoeuvres and landed at a planned spot.

This flight marks the first time a UH-60 has flown autonomously and builds on recent demonstrations at the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2021. It illustrates how ALIAS-enabled aircraft can help soldiers successfully execute complex missions with selectable levels of autonomy.

The Black Hawk was retrofitted with Sikorsky MATRIX™ autonomy technologies that form the core of ALIAS and can change the way aviators and aircrews execute their missions by assisting when flying with limited visibility or without communications.

DARPA Presented First Autonomous BLACK HAWK Helicopter

The Army is presently investigating potential applications for technology such as ALIAS, such as those mentioned in the United States Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme.

The ALIAS programme intends to undertake the maiden flight of a fly-by-wire M-model Black Hawk at Fort Eustis, Virginia, within the next month.

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