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Sikorsky Flies Optionally Piloted Black Hawk

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | April 22, 2014
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[Avionics Today April 22, 2014] Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced a successful flight test of an optionally piloted Black Hawk Helicopter, part of the manufacturer's ongoing work with the U.S. Army to provide autonomous cargo delivery.

Under Sikorsky's Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) program, the Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator completed the first flight in March at Sikorsky's Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. During the flight, engineers controlled the helicopter with the company's Matrix Technologies and Ground Control Station (GCS). Matrix, a research program, was first introduced by Sikorsky in July 2013 to develop systems and software to improve capabilities for  autonomous, optionally piloted, and piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. 

"The autonomous Black Hawk helicopter provides the commander with the flexibility to determine crewed or un-crewed operations, increasing sorties while maintaining crew rest requirements. This allows the crew to focus on the more 'sensitive' operations, and leaves the critical resupply missions for autonomous operations without increasing fleet size or mix," said Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president of research & engineering. 

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