Military Embedded Systems

Sikorsky to implement Matrix Technology on Black Hawk helicopters for autonomous capabilities


May 14, 2014

Sikorsky to implement Matrix Technology on Black Hawk helicopters for autonomous capabilities

ORLANDO, FL. Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp, announced at the AUVSI 2014 show that it intends to develop its first product featuring Matrix Technology on a retired UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter, to be converted into an aircraft with autonomous capabilities.

Sikorsky plans to utilize the Matrix Technology and Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) autonomy programs to deliver a new level of mission flexibility. By refurbishing retired Black Hawks, this program provides cost-effective and sustainable systems.

“The autonomous Black Hawk will provide affordable, reliable, high-speed resupply to the warfighter in the harshest conditions at a cost per ton mile that competes with ground convoys,” states Mark Miller, VP of Research & Engineering for Sikorsky Aircraft. The new autonomous Black Hawk will employ the strength to lift up to 9,000 pounds, will have the flexibility of internal and external cargo capability, and the productivity of high cruise speeds.

“While we are announcing the creation of a proof-of-concept aircraft, Sikorsky is already prepared to ramp up system conversions per year as demand requires,” commented Samir Mehta, Sikorsky’s President of Defense Systems & Services. “We are considering potential development partners and look forward to working with the Department of Defense and other customers to mature this concept and its associated operations.”

The design of a prototype autonomous system has been underway for over a year, and the introduction of the first refurbished Black Hawk helicopter will begin later in May. The company will conduct various technology maturation tests during the build period using the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), which is based on an S-76 commercial helicopter.

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