Sikorsky Aircraft has demonstrated the optionally piloted flight of a Black Hawk helicopter, a significant step toward providing autonomous cargo delivery functionality to the U.S. Army.
The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator, known as Sikorsky’s Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) Program, conducted the successful first flight demonstration on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center. The demonstration was conducted through the use of Sikorsky’s Matrix Technologies and advanced Ground Control Station (GCS) Technologies. The OPBH demonstrated autonomous hover and flight operations while under the control of a man-portable GCS, demonstrating the capability for expeditionary operations and critical cargo resupply.
Optionally piloted black hawk demonstrator helicopter takes first flight. Photo courtesy of Sikorsky
The MURAL Program is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD), the U.S. Army Utility Helicopters Project Office (UH PO) and Sikorsky. The UH PO is providing access to two UH-60MU Black Hawk helicopters and Sikorsky is applying the technology it has developed with Internal Research and Development funding.
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