UAS & Robotics

DARPA awards second deal for Phase II of ALIAS

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded a second contract modification for Phase 2 of its project to develop a system to add autonomous capabilities to existing aircraft.

The research agency gave Aurora Flight Sciences a $15.3 million modification for further development of its Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System, or ALIAS, program which plans to allow for smaller flight crews by allowing the system to take over certain functions. With the modification, the total value of Aurora’s deal rises to $21.4 million.

Earlier this month, DARPA also gave Sikorsky Aircraft a $9.8 million modification, also for the program’s next phase.

During Phase I, Aurora, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin focused on developing easy-to-use human interfaces that would allow the system to help operate the aircraft without a lot of maintenance from the pilot.

Phase II of the program targets refining the overall system, reducing risk reduction, demonstrating that ALIAS can be installed quickly and flight demonstrations, according to the announcement of Aurora’s contract. The next phase also adds a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to the fixed-wing aircraft used in demonstrations.

Aurora’s work on Phase II is expected to be finished by December 2016.

Defense Systems Update

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