Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) hold folded flags before military funeral honors. (U.S. Army/Elizabeth Fraser)

The Minnesota National Guard has released the names of the three soldiers killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.

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A UH-60 Black Hawk departs from The Rock while conducting Medevac 101 training with members of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group, Feb. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys)

(Reuters) - A Black Hawk helicopter went down in central Minnesota on Thursday, killing all three soldiers on board, after it lost contact with the Minnesota National Guard during a maintenance test flight, Governor Tim Walz said on Thursday.

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Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Sikorsky has two goals in mind for its optionally manned S-70 helicopter: to make the autonomous technology easy to retrofit on existing aircraft for users like the U.S. Army, and to give pilots various modes of autonomy so they can commit more time toward their mission, according to company officials.

Sikorsky's original S-70 helicopter model would become the Army's UH-60 Black Hawk and spawn a family of helicopters used by multiple military services.

The company, now a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., this week said it's progressing through its flight test program by incorporating more autonomy software and sensors onto the aircraft, with a fully autonomous flight projected sometime in 2020, said Igor Cherepinsky, Sikorsky Director of Autonomy

"We will show the world that this is capable... [of] being operated from the ground sometime next year," Cherepinsky said in a phone call with reporters Monday.

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The U.S. Air Force has cleared for initial production a new Sikorsky combat rescue helicopter based on the venerable Black Hawk helicopter, parent company Lockheed Martin Corp. said.

The helicopter will perform combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services.

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(U.S. Army/Capt. Richard Barke)

First, America had to grapple with the 'storm Area 51' raid. Now black helicopters are hovering ominously over Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio first reported on Monday that the Army has requested $1.55 million for a classified mission involving 10 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility" at Fort Belvoir, Va.

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(U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class J. TaShun Joyce)

When then-Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher C. Palumbo found out he couldn't get back to a battle in Afghanistan, he was so mad that he drop-kicked his flight helmet.

Palumbo, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, received the Distinguished Service Cross Award on Thursday for his actions during that battle on April 11, 2005. The award is the Army's second highest for valor.

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