A modified Black Hawk helicopter automatically flies between mountains in a simulated mission to provide a blood supply.It also picked up a mock medical casualty
November 2, 2022
an american army The helicopter, fully controlled by the flight computer, flies low and fast through the valley while performing a 134-kilometer demonstration flight to deliver blood supplies.
A separate test flight showed Homegrown version A Black Hawk helicopter can also pick up more than a metric ton of cargo hanging below its belly, and can even change its flight path to pick up a mannequin in place of a wounded soldier. The flight demonstration took place during an exercise in October.
“This is a truly autonomous system,” Igor Cherepinsky of Sikorsky Innovations, the aircraft maker that produces the Black Hawk, said in a news release. “Once you’ve explained what the mission is, you don’t even need a data link – the aircraft will make all the decisions.”
This is the latest milestone for the DARPA project alias Sikorsky’s MATRIX technology, a plug-in kit that can convert a helicopter into an autonomously flying aircraft, is being tested. The first short flight test without anyone took place in February.
“I think it’s a big leap from previous exercises and experiments where there were still pilots,” said Stacey PettyJohn At the Center for a New American Security, a national security think tank in Washington, D.C., “Eighty miles is a considerable distance.”
In a recent Army exercise, the flight involved a Black Hawk helicopter carrying 227 kg (500 lb) of simulated and real blood. The helicopter flies over the mountains at 185 kilometers per hour (115 miles per hour), 200 feet above the ground, relying on onboard sensors to avoid hitting anything. “We’re a self-flying car, if you will, so we use lidar and cameras,” Cherepinski said.
A single flight test began, with the helicopter attaching a metric ton of cargo to a 12-meter (40-foot) sling and flying toward the designated landing zone.During that flight, Sikorsky showed how a human operator on the ground could use a touchscreen table to command unmanned helicopter Drop slings and transfer casualties on a mock battlefield.
An autonomous Black Hawk could steer clear of some previous controversies involving weaponized autonomous military vehicles. But Pettyjohn said such self-flying aircraft, even those unarmed, always present a risk of injury or harm to people on the ground if something goes wrong.
Drone versions of the Black Hawk and other military aircraft could potentially be used for resupply without endangering the lives of human pilots. But the MATRIX kit upgrade also allows the aircraft to continue performing less dangerous missions on its own while the crew rests.
“There is potentially enormous value in performing these soft tasks that are not necessarily at the tip of the spear,” Pettyjohn said.
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