Lockheed Martin‘s Sikorsky subsidiary is conducting ground checks to prepare a medium-lift utility helicopter equipped with a robotic co-pilot kit for initial flight tests slated to commence by the end of the year, Rotor & Wing reported Friday.
The upcoming flight demonstration of an automated UH-60A Black Hawk will culminate a decade-long collaborative effort of Sikorsky, the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The helicopter’s autonomous technology is designed to help pilots coordinate with the system to manage missions remotely and allow the machine to perform air-traffic deconfliction and terrain and obstacle avoidance tasks.
“The key with this technology is that the autonomy is less flying the aircraft than performing the duties of a co-pilot,” Igor Cherepinsky, chief engineer of autonomy systems at Sikorsky, was quoted as saying by Rotary & Wing.
Cherepinsky added the company aims to deploy the retrofit kits to the UH-60 fleet.