Sikorsky conducted the first flight demonstration of an “optionally piloted” UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter last month, at its development flight test center near West Palm Beach, Fla. During the March 11 flight, the aircraft hovered and conducted flight operations under the control of an operator using a “man-portable” ground control station, the company announced on Tuesday.
The flight of the demonstrator aircraft, which Sikorsky calls the manned/unmanned resupply aerial lifter (MURAL), advances the technology towards a point where the U.S. Army can achieve “autonomous cargo delivery”, the company says. Helicopters capable of flying manned or unmanned missions would allow the military to increase sorties while maintaining crew rest requirements, it notes.
Unmanned Black Hawks could be used for resupply missions and expeditionary operations, allowing crews to operate more sensitive operations, says Sikorsky.
For the complete story by Jon Hemmerdinger of Flightglobal.com, click here.
Photo by Sikorsky