DH - Defence Helicopter

Aurora tests AACUS capabilities

30th May 2016 - 03:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Aurora Flight Sciences has been testing the new capabilities of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) for the US Marine Corps (USMC), which announced it on 25 May.

The AACUS is an autonomy applique kit to tactically operate full-scale rotorcraft in and out of austere landing zones with minimal human assistance. The solution enables warfighters to control the aircraft using an application on military-issued tablets.

The company plans to test the programme capabilities on a Bell UH-1H Iroquois military helicopter from 2017 to early 2017, and implement the technology in the USMC fleet in 2018.

Capt Christopher Alfaro, MAGTF logistics integration officer, logistics division and strategy branch, Headquarters USMC, said: 'The AACUS is a sensor package that when installed on an aircraft allows for it to be unmanned. Which means we can put this kit on any aircraft and as long as we do the science and engineering behind it, it can fly autonomously.'

Maj Jason Jewell, pilot, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 774, Marine Aircraft Group 49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, USMC, said: 'This system is going to allow pilots to let the system do the risky jobs. By this time next year we should be flying with the AACUS on the UH-1H.'

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