DARPA awards Sikorsky Phase 3 contract for ALIAS program

Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky has received a Phase 3 contract for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's cockpit automation program.

The program, known as the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System, or ALIAS, is an effort to reduce pilot workloads by designing cockpit computer systems to function more independently. Sikorsky officials say the work will make military aircraft safer, and improve mission performance.

"Our work with DARPA has continued to grow and our team is excited to begin Phase 3 on the ALIAS program," Sikorsky Engineering and Technology vice president Mark Miller said in a press release. "Our autonomy capabilities will help pilots in high workload and degraded visual environments ultimately increasing safety and efficiency."

During the first two phases of the program, Sikorsky integrated its Matrix Technology into its Autonomy Research Aircraft and on a Cessna Caravan. The technology includes hardware and software tools to enable automation.

DARPA's ALIAS program aims to alleviate aircraft system failures with touch and voice interfaces and other automated solutions. The agency says the kits are being designed to be removable and promote additional high levels of automation for existing aircraft.

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