Tech

April 18, 2014

Robocopter: New technology brings new capabilities to Marine Corps

David Smalley
Arlington, Va.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqwS7CcjA28&feature=youtu.be

Autonomy options for the Marines have taken a major step forward, as officials at theOffice of Naval Research announced April 5 two successful helicopter flight demonstrations with unmanned flight capability at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., part of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) program.

AACUS will enable the Marine Corps to rapidly resupply forces on the front lines using cutting-edge technology sponsored by ONR. The system consists of a sensor and software package that will be integrated into rotary wing aircraft to detect and avoid obstacles in unfavorable weather conditions, or to enable autonomous, unmanned flight. The capability will be a welcome alternative to dangerous convoys, manned aircraft or air drops in all weather conditions.

This is a giant leap in autonomous capabilities for our Marines, said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder.

Imagine a Marine unit needing more ammunition and water where a helicopter crew would be in peril trying to fly in, either from weather or enemy fire.

With AACUS, an unmanned helicopter takes the supplies from the base, picks out the optimal route and best landing site closest to the warfighters, lands, and returns to base once the resupply is complete all with the single touch of a handheld tablet.

The need for this capability surfaced during Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, experts say.Cargo helicopters and resupply convoys of trucks bringing fuel, food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to the front lines frequently found themselves under fire from adversaries, or the target of roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices.

The AACUS technology is designed to be simple to use; an operator with minimal training can call up the supplies needed and order the flights using only a handheld tablet. In the demonstration tests at Quantico, a Marine with no prior experience with the technology was given a handheld device and 15 minutes of training.

The Marine was able to quickly and easily program in the supplies needed and the destination, and the helicopters arrived quickly even autonomously selecting an alternative landing site based on last-second no-fly-zone information added in from the Marine.

This technology truly opens up new unmanned operations capabilities, said Max Snell, the AACUS program manager. In the most immediate sense, AACUS will enable safer resupply for the warfighter and save pilots lives. Down the road, as the technology develops, it could be used for casualty evacuation, bringing supplies to first responders in disaster areas, and more.

The technology enables the manned or unmanned rotary wing aircraft to detect and avoid obstacles like telephone wires, large objects on the ground and even a vehicle or other object that has appeared since the initial landing site was chosen by AACUS.

Officials say the five-year effort represents a leap-ahead technology for the Marine Corps and Navy, moving autonomous flights far beyond the current standard which requires a specialized operator to select a landing site and manually control an unmanned aircraft via remote.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has discussed using drones to deliver a customers book order in 30 minutes, said Klunder. Were talking the same concept here the difference is, were bringing our customer, the Marine, 5,000 pounds of ammo and water instead.
For more information and periodic updates, follow #AACUS on Facebook and Twitter.




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


 
 

 

Headlines November 24, 2014

News: Hagel said to be stepping down as defense chief under pressure - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises. Afghan mission for U.S....
 
 

News Briefs November 24, 2014

Fog forces five U.S. choppers to land in Polish field Officials say that that fog forced five U.S. Army helicopters to make an emergency landing in a Polish field and spend the night there, the second such incident since September. The U.S. Army said 15 soldiers were moving equipment to their base in Germany Nov....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 

 
boeing-SC-787

Boeing South Carolina begins final assembly of its first 787-9 Dreamliner

Boeing has started final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at its South Carolina facility. The team began joining large fuselage sections of the newest 787 Nov. 22 on schedule, a proud milestone for the South Carolina team and a...
 
 
Lockheed Martin image

Ball Aerospace equips Orion mission with key avionics, antenna hardware

Lockheed Martin image Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is providing the phased array antennas and flight test cameras to prime contractor Lockheed Martin for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), which is an u...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>