Business

June 1, 2016
 

Sikorsky successfully completes DARPA ALIAS Phase 1 Competition with autonomous flight

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has successfully demonstrated a 30-mile autonomous flight using a Sikorsky S-76® commercial helicopter to complete Phase 1 of an $8 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System program.

Sikorsky’s ALIAS system directed the rotorcraft flight demonstration from Sikorsky’s Stratford, Connecticut, facility to Robertson Airport in Plainville, Connecticut, utilizing autonomous technology capabilities.

This flight highlighted the ability for an operator to plan and execute every phase of an autonomous mission with a tablet device. During the demonstration, a ground station crew located at the flight initiation field monitored the progress of the ALIAS-enabled Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft, an S-76® commercial helicopter.

The objective of DARPA’s ALIAS program is to develop and insert new levels of automation into existing military and commercial aircraft to enable those aircraft to operate with reduced onboard crew. ALIAS seeks to leverage advances in autonomy that reduce pilot workload, augment mission performance, and improve aircraft safety and reliability.

Sikorsky utilized its Matrix Technology™ introduced in 2013 to develop, test and field hardware and software systems that significantly improve optionally piloted and piloted vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Sikorsky has installed MATRIX on both SARA and a BLACK HAWK helicopter.

“With the advances we’ve made, the capability for safe, unobtrusive optionally piloted flight is here,” said Mark Miller, Vice President of Engineering & Technology at Sikorsky. “ALIAS is expanding the role of optionally piloted helicopters for early entry into established aircraft programs. It has the capability of not only reducing aircrew size, but also changing the type and length of training required for safe operation.”

With work on ALIAS Phase 1 complete, Sikorsky has begun Phase 2 of the program. DARPA awarded Sikorsky a $9.8 million modification for the competition’s second phase, which focuses on continued maturation of the initial ALIAS system with additional flight tests, enhancements to the human interface and transition to additional aircraft to demonstrate ALIAS portability.

“The current environment limits the creation of new, optionally piloted platforms. What Sikorsky and DARPA are demonstrating is the successful and affordable integration of advanced technology onto existing legacy aircraft to not only set the stage for autonomous operations down the road, but also to immediately improve aircraft performance, reduce maintenance costs, and increase crew and passenger safety,” said Chris Van Buiten, Vice President of Sikorsky Innovations, the technology research group for the Engineering & Technology organization.

“We are delighted to be working with DARPA on this transformational program,” Van Buiten added.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – October 17, 2018

News Who would replace Mattis? – Given Mattis’s popularity with key segments of Trump’s base, the administration will likely set him up for a graceful exit, rather than an embarrassing firing. But a number of names are already being floated as his replacement.   Air Force: Hurricane damage to Tyndall F-22s ‘less than we feared,’...
 
 

News Briefs – October 17, 2018

U.S. military airstrike in Somalia kills 4 al-Shabab fighters The U.S. military says it has conducted an airstrike that killed four al-Shabab extremists after “partner forces came under small arms fire.” The U.S. Africa Command says the Oct. 14 airstrike was carried out near the community of Araara in Lower Juba region in the south....
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin reaches technical milestone for long range discrimination radar

Lockheed Martin photograph The Solid State Radar Integration Site at Lockheed Martin’s Moorestown, N.J., facility Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Discrimination Radar has completed a closed loop satellite track with tactical h...