May 17, 2014

Sikorsky Plans First Flight of Autonomous Black Hawk

Sikorsky plans to launch an autonomous version of its Black Hawk helicopter. The helicopter giant will take a UH-60A and turn it into a proof-of-concept development cargo carrier. The goal is to show the rotorcraft can take off, fly and land safely while under control of a computer.
It’s not Sikorsky’s first foray into rewiring a Black Hawk for pilot-free control. Last year, the company rigged an aircraft to give it limited autonomy, although a pilot on the ground could control it by remote control. That program was known as the Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter.
But the goal of high-level autonomy makes this a greater challenge, and one that draws off the company’s Matrix program, which first ran live, autonomous flight tests on an old S-76 in July.

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