BECOME A MEMBER DONATE TODAY

FVL: Robotic Co-Pilots Will Help Fly Black Hawks In 2021

WASHINGTON: The Army and Sikorsky are converting a pair of aging UH-60 Black Hawks to use cutting-edge automation and fly-by-wire controls, with side-by-side formation flights planned for late 2021. A successful demonstration could pave the way both for upgrades across the entire helicopter fleet – not just Black Hawks – and for the next-generation Future Vertical Lift aircraft, which the Army wants to be “optionally manned” from day one.

Just replacing maintenance-intensive mechanical and hydraulic controls with all-electric fly-by-wire would be a major improvement. But installing fly-by-wire also makes it possible for a computer to fly the aircraft or help a human to do so, potentially preventing deadly accidents due to human error.

Sikorsky, part of Lockheed Martin, makes the UH-60 – the modern-day mainstay of Army aviation – and is competing to build both the scout and transport versions of FVL.

READ MORE