DARPA Awards $8M ALIAS Program Phase I Contract to Sikorsky

After many successful implementations of Sikorsky’s Matrix Technology, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Sikorsky with an $8 million contract to equip existing aircraft with the technology. This contract is allocated to Phase 1 of the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation (ALIAS Program) in efforts to reduce dependence on aircraft crew members. The ALIAS Program uses Matrix Technology to install an aircraft automation system. Introduced in 2013, this program includes a remote pilot method, allowing for piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). This removable kit can replace up to five crew members through a touch and voice recognition screen. Most importantly, this new operation may increase aircraft safety during emergency situations and harsh weather conditions.

Through a joint venture between Sikorsky Innovations, the United Technologies Research Center, the National Robotics Engineering Center, and Veloxiti Inc., the ALIAS Program was tested last year on the Black Hawk helicopter for the U.S. Army. This helicopter was slightly modified with a remotely supervised control, which became known as the Manned Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) program. These operations are thought to be the future of defense missions—advancing flight intelligence and efficiency. Sikorsky, a United Technologies Company, was founded in 1925 and has been flourishing ever since. For the next five to ten years, the company is predicted to sell more than 400 helicopters in the Middle East. With the increasing oil economy in those countries, the need for helicopters is ever more demanding. Lockheed Martin recently won another contract worth $2 billion from the US Navy for supplying H-60 helicopters.

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