We have seen a number of remotely operated drones, mini helicopters and such military vehicles in the recent past. But what the U.S. military has done now outdoes all that. The military has successfully turned the 5.2-ton Blackhawk into a remotely-operated bird.
What is most incredible about this breakthrough is that Blackhawk is a huge helicopter, not the kind of tiny drone or helicopter that can easily be turned from manual control to remote control. Here is a truly heavy machinery which, thanks to this innovation, can now be controlled with the few taps of buttons and a joystick.
The feat has been accomplished by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, an entity U.S. military directly works with. The best thing about the remotely-operated Blackhawk is that it can accomplish more or less all the tasks that it would normally do with a human pilot at the helm.
According to Mark Miller of Sikorsky, “The autonomous Black Hawk helicopter provides the commander with the flexibility to determine crewed or un-crewed operations, increasing sorties while maintaining crew rest requirements. This allows the crew to focus on the more ‘sensitive’ operations, and leaves the critical resupply missions for autonomous operations without increasing fleet size or mix.”
Blackhawk can carry huge amounts of cargo as well as troops, and the option of remotely operating it means that it may be a lot safer to accomplish these tasks in difficult situations such as during active combat. However, the remotely-operated Blackhawk is yet to be tested in the field which is when we will know how successful it is.