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The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator program aims at developing aircraft ...

While autonomous aircraft are now a well established part of military operations, there are some areas where “pilot optional” is still very much synonymous with “cutting edge.” Case in point is Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. In cooperation with the US Army, Sikorsky demonstrated the helicopter's capabilities for the first time in an autonomous cargo delivery exercise on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center.  Read More

The AT Black Knight Transformer during its first flight demonstrating a stable and control...

Following on from driving tests that wound up in December last year, the Black Knight Transformer prototype demonstrator has taken to the air for the first time. California-based Advanced Tactics, Inc., announced its vehicle, which combines the capabilities of a helicopter and an off-road vehicle, completed its first flight tests last month, being remotely piloted at an undisclosed location in Southern California.  Read More

DARPA is working on revolutionizing rotorcraft technology

Helicopters and other rotorcraft are impressive bits of technology, but the only place where they match the performance of fixed-wing aircraft is in bad 1980s television. That may soon change with DARPA announcing the selection of four companies to compete in the next phase of its Vertical Take Off and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program. The four companies are tasked with developing unmanned demonstrator aircraft designed to increase the performance of VTOL rotor aircraft while reducing their complexity.  Read More

DARPA's ARES consists of a VTOL flight module capable of carrying several different types ...

Helicopters are an invaluable military resource for transporting supplies, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance, and evacuating casualties from rugged terrain. Unfortunately, they are also a finite resource. That's why DARPA is looking to share the load with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

The AT Black Knight Transformer

When someone mentions flying cars it conjures up images of a sporty little number that takes to the air like something out of the Jetsons. But what about one that’s a cross between a 4x4, an octocopter, and a Blackhawk helicopter? That’s what Advanced Tactics of El Segundo, California is seeing with its ambitions to produce a roadable VTOL aircraft capable of unmanned autonomous operations as a more flexible way to recover casualties, move supplies, and support special forces.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at the top five drone stories of 2013

Although aerial drones been around in one form or another since World War I, it hasn’t really been until the last decade that they’ve really taken off, so to speak. Where they were once restricted to a spot of battlefield reconnaissance, in addition to military applications, drones are now used for everything from agriculture to oil prospecting and by everyone from rescue workers to real estate agents. Although the technological advances and proliferation of drones has accelerated over the past decade, 2013 was the year that the technology really entered the public consciousness. So let’s have a look back at Gizmag’s pick of the top drone stories of 2013.  Read More

'Quick Robin, to the AirMule!'

If you saw The Dark Knight Rises, then you no doubt remember the very cool-looking Batwing aircraft in which Mr. Wayne flew over the streets of Gotham. Perhaps you thought that while it was pretty impressive, there was no way that anything like it could work in real life. Well hey, guess what? The Batwing-like AirMule VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) prototype aircraft recently demonstrated its ability to fly autonomously, bringing it one step closer to carrying out a full mission demo.  Read More

The Flexrotor UAV takes off autonomously from the skiff

Northrop Grumman's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) may have grabbed headlines earlier this year with its first launches from and landings aboard an aircraft carrier, but Aerovel Corporation has completed an equally impressive launch, flight and landing of its Flexrotor UAV from a somewhat smaller carrier. And in this case, not only was the aircraft unmanned, so was the boat.  Read More

Martin Aircraft's  will start deliveries of its new P12 Jetpack prototype in 2014 (Photo: ...

The Martin Jetpack being developed by Martin Aircraft Company in New Zealand has undergone a major design overhaul. Reemerging as the P12 prototype, the ducted-fan personal VTOL is fully certified for manned test flights as a Class 1 microlight. The first commercial sales, now expected in mid-2014, will be for first responder applications, such as rescue, fire, and police missions. According to the company, sales to individuals will follow shortly after the initial models are vetted in field use.  Read More

The F-35B comes in for its first night-time at sea vertical landing (Photo: Lockheed Marti...

After the first vertical landing at sea of the F-35B in 2011 and its first night-time vertical landing in April of this year, the two feats have now been combined in the first night-time vertical landing at sea of the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.  Read More

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