US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and engineers and designers from Sikorsky a Lockheed Martin company. Have this week successfully flown a pilotless Black Hawk helicopter. The UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopter took to the skies with no crew aboard and could be controlled from the ground using an automated flying system.
To fly a Black Hawk helicopter normally requires two experienced pilots however the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) allows it to be flown with two people, one person or no one. The first uncrewed flight took place at Fort Campbell, Kentucky this week and can be seen in the video below.
Pilotless UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
“Sitting on the runway in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, one of Sikorsky’s pilots in an S-70™ BLACK HAWK® helicopter flips the optionally piloted cockpit switch from two to zero, exits the aircraft and walks across the runway. Moments later, the Model A BLACK HAWK aircraft, identifiable by DARPA’s logo and tail number N60-OPV, completes a pre-flight check list, starts its engines, spins up its rotors and takes off with no crew onboard. All of it happens fully autonomously.”
“ALIAS represents a leap ahead in autonomy for a range of systems,” said Igor Cherepinsky, Director of Sikorsky Innovations at Lockheed Martin. “We began with the core architecture and software of Sikorsky’s MATRIX Technology to design extensible and flexible systems for ALIAS that have now flown on nine different military and commercial aircraft. We are confident that this next generation of enhanced flight controls will create new approaches for the battlefield of the future and enable reliable commercial scenarios such as urban air mobility”
Source : Lockheed Martin