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The Army's Self-Flying Black Hawk Helicopter Is One Step Closer To Reality
The Pentagon just took a major step towards putting unmanned helicopters in the field.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced on Monday that the Army successfully tested a semi-autonomous "co-pilot" on a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter at Fort Eustis, Virginia, in mid-October — and Sikorsky engineers are already working to integrate the system into a UH-60 Black Hawk for testing and flight demonstration by next year.
Conducted under the Pentagon's Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program, an Army aviator tested out the Sikorsky's so-called MATRIX Technology — which governs the S-76B's autonomous functionality across various control systems — by taking the airframe through a series maneuvers ranging from confined area takeoffs and landings to low-level terrain flight.
The goal of the system is simple, as Marine Corps Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program manager Dave Braden told The War Zone: to automate specific functions in an effort to reduce pilot workload and free up mission crews to focus on more important mission-critical tasks like close air support or medical evacuations.
“The Army refers to this as Mission Adaptive Autonomy," Ott said in a statement. "It’s there when the pilot needs the aircraft to fly itself and keep it free of obstacles, so the pilot can focus on more of the mission commander type role."
DARPA ALIAS program chief Graham Drozeski put it a bit better: “Hovering in adverse winds is a task that consumes a human pilot’s attention, but automated flight control achieves ‘rock steady’ precision ... Really, we want the pilot’s eyes and mind on the fight rather than holding an altitude."
The Black Hawk may be the ideal practical test vehicle after the Sikorsky's S-76B test bed, if only out of necessity.
A 2017 Pentagon inspector general audit revealed that the Army “did not provide adequate funding and training for H-60 pilots on the new equipment," suggesting a readiness shortfall for Black Hawk aviators.
While Sikorsky will clearly continue to provide new Black Hawk airframes to the Army, the incorporation of a refined ALIAS system could help make up for the training deficit for aviators — especially as the service pushes for a fully modernized and upgraded fleet of 2,135 Black Hawks by 2035.
“We’ve chosen the Black Hawk as the platform we want to demonstrate full integration of ALIAS-type capabilities – all the circuit breakers and switches and instruments in the aircraft, so that the capability ALIAS provides to a crew member is really like a co-pilot,” DARPA's Drozeski said. “It can fly routes, plan routes, execute emergency procedures, and do all that perfectly.”
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.