UH-60A Black Hawk is a drone now after a 30-min unmanned flight [video]

WASHINGTON — As part of the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System [ALIAS] program, the United States Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency [DARPA] has launched the first UH-60A Black Hawk flight without a man on board, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defense Express.

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On February 5 this year, a 30-minute unmanned flight of an additional manned vehicle [OPV, based on Black Hawk by Sikorski] flew over the US military base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, DARPA press service reported.

The UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter, with the DARPA logo and flight number N60-OPV, flies without a crew onboard to demonstrate the ability of ALIAS-developed equipment to adapt to different flight conditions. The Black Hawk drone was moving at the typical speed and altitude of this type of helicopter through a simulated cityscape, avoiding imaginary buildings, re-planning the route in real-time. The onboard sensor simulation provided real-time interference data.

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

The Black Hawk helicopter maneuvered autonomously and landed at the planned location.

This flight is the first when the UH-60 operates autonomously and is based on approaches recently demonstrated in the US Army’s Convergence 2021 program. It illustrates how helicopters with support for equipment developed as part of the ALIAS program can help servicemen to successfully perform complex tasks with the choice of autonomy.

Black Hawk is upgraded with Sikorsky MATRIX auto autonomy technology, which is at the heart of ALIAS-developed equipment and can change the way helicopter pilots and crews perform their tasks, helping to fly in difficult conditions – with limited visibility or without communication.

The U.S. military is currently exploring potential applications of technologies such as ALIAS, such as the Future Vertical Lift [FVL] program adopted by the U.S. military.

UH-60A Black Hawk is a drone now after a 30-min unmanned flight
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
UH-60A Black Hawk is a drone now after a 30-min unmanned flight
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

As part of the ALIAS program, a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter is scheduled to fly to Fort Justice, Virginia, next month.

Earlier, Defense Express reported that DARPA was funding the creation of “stingray-like” robots, as well as a review of eight of DARPA’s top-rated projects, from grazing robots and insect cyborgs to artificial blood.


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