There are significant developments in the technology industry and this is helping all works of life. The military is more interested in technologies that will make its personnel safer on the battlefield. Several military technologies are to keep military personnel safe. However, nothing makes a man safer than when he doesn’t have to be on the war front. Today, we have drones that sometimes go for airstrikes. These drones are sometimes brought down by the “enemy” but only money is lost since they are unmanned. Now, there are attempts to use drone technology and apply it to conventional aircraft (Black Hawk). The target is to have a fully unmanned aircraft that can go for specific dangerous military probably recovery missions.
Well, it appears that this technology is already available considering a recent video from Lockheed Martin. The video from a few days ago shows a pilot exiting his S-70 Black Hawk. The pilot walks across the runway and after some minutes, the aircraft activates and takes off on its own. With no human crew, the helicopter was able to complete all flight functions. It initiated and completed a pre-flight checklist. Furthermore, it starts the engine and takes off for flight testing.
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First autonomous Black Hawk flight
This technology from DARPA and Sikorsky is the first of its kind in history. The flight testing took place on the 5th of February, 2022. However, it is important to note that this is not a regular Black Hawk aircraft. The iconic Black Hawk has been modified with Sikorsky Matrix Technology. The aircraft also comes with other technology from the DARPA ALIAS program.
Interestingly, the aircraft was able to complete a couple of maneuvers autonomously. The Black Hawk was able to take off, land, and even simulated obstacle avoidance scenarios. However, it is important to note that just like drones, the aircraft had a monitoring crew at a ground base command center. Thus, the flight of this aircraft is not completely and absolutely autonomous. This optionally piloted aircraft simulates the ability and reliability of Matrix and ALIAS technologies. These companies collaborating with DARPA are no doubt advancing the future of flights.
Sending an aircraft with a flight crew for a recovery mission from a dangerous zone puts the lives of the flight crew in danger also. To ensure the safety of more military personnel, such technologies are very relevant. However, this technology will most likely not be deployed except in very critical and dangerous situations.