The Black Hawk helicopters have been in use, in the United States military for over 30 years now. It is quiet an iconic aircraft, and the manufacturer Sirkorsky Aircraft Corporation says the chopper is very dependable, versatile and rugged. They have more than 2,300 of these aircraft in services for over 30 years now, being used in 25 different countries including China, Mexico, Turkey and Sweden.
Sirkorsky has been working on a new technology that will see these choppers fly without any pilot having to seat on the cockpit. In essence, the five ton chopper will be able to carry out the autonomous resupply missions unmanned and go a long way in helping the military reduce the number and cost of sending out troops to missions. Sirkorsky says, “The ability for the pilot to leave the cockpit for potentially dull and dangerous missions significantly reduces crew limitation and increases Black Hawk flight operations.”
The new technology will enable full pilot control of the chopper for the complex missions, thus making the military more flexible. This technology has been in development since the year 2007 and will be available for the battlefield by the year 2015. Chris Van Buiten, the Sirkorsky innovation Vice President stated, “Imagine a vehicle that can double the productivity of the Black Hawk in Iraq and Afghanistan by flying with, at times, a single pilot instead of two, decreasing the workload, decreasing the risk and at time when the mission is really dull and really dangerous, go it all the way to fully unmanned”.
Black Hawk choppers have had a good history in the United States military service. However back in the year 1993 two Black Hawk choppers were shot down while flying over Somalia, in the city of Mogadishu. The mission to recover the crew members led to the production of the 2001 movie Black Hawk Down.