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Black Hawk helicopter completes first uninhabited flight

Very first flight of uninhabited helicopter: achievement designed possible by development of versatile, extensible automation architecture.

The DARPA Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation Procedure (ALIAS) system finished a to start with at any time flight of a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter without having any one onboard. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin business, completed 30-minutes of uninhabited flight with the optionally piloted car (OPV) over the U.S. Military installation at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on February 5th. An more uninhabited flight was also carried out on February 7th.

The Black Hawk was retrofitted with Sikorsky MATRIX™ autonomy systems that form the core of ALIAS and can change the way aviators and air crews execute their missions by giving support when traveling with constrained visibility or with out communications.

ALIAS is a versatile, extensible automation architecture for existing manned aircraft that allows secure decreased crew operations, which facilitates the addition of higher stages of automation into present aircraft. It also delivers a system for integrating further automation or autonomy abilities tailor-made for particular missions.

“With decreased workloads pilots can emphasis on mission administration rather of the mechanics,” mentioned Stuart Younger, plan manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technologies Business office. “This one of a kind mixture of autonomy software and components will make traveling equally smarter and safer.”

The ALIAS program has leveraged the sizeable advancements in aircraft automation units around the earlier 50 several years, as well as related improvements in remotely piloted plane. Even in today’s most automated plane, pilots will have to nonetheless regulate advanced interfaces and answer to unpredicted situations.

ALIAS aims to help execution of an entire mission from takeoff to landing, together with autonomously dealing with contingency functions these kinds of as plane process failures. Simple-to-use interfaces aid supervisor-ALIAS interaction.

“With ALIAS, the Military will have a lot far more operational adaptability,” mentioned Younger. “This contains the potential to work aircraft at all instances of the day or evening, with and with out pilots, and in a variety of tough problems, this sort of as contested, congested, and degraded visible environments.”

The Military is currently discovering likely use circumstances for systems this sort of as ALIAS, which includes those outlined in the U.S. Army’s Upcoming Vertical Lift (FVL) plan.

In the next thirty day period, the ALIAS method options to perform the to start with flight of a fly-by-wire M-model Black Hawk at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Resource: DARPA