ARGUS goes back to DARPA while new aerial platform is sought
By Daniel Wasserbly
Following serious technical difficulties, the US Army has stopped work on the Boeing A160 Hummingbird vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), and sent back to researchers the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) that the UASs were supposed to carry.
The aircraft and the sensors were to deploy to Afghanistan as a 'Quick Reaction Capability' in June 2012, but instead all ARGUS-related spares are being transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) following a slew of incidents with the A160 that was to host it. The A160 and ARGUS efforts both originated at DARPA.
"The services are currently evaluating options to integrate ARGUS-IS on the other aircraft and airships," Fred Schnarre, a program manager in DARPA's Information Innovation Office, said. "To date we've tested on the YEH-60 Black Hawk, A160 Hummingbird, the DHC-8, and the Proteus manned aircraft."
Testing issues with the A160 VTOL aircraft included a crash at Victorville in July 2010 caused by a flight-control sensor failure; one Belize in September 2010 during a FORESTER (foliage penetrating reconnaissance, surveillance, tracking and engagement radar) test flight; and another at Victorville in April 2012 during an ARGUS calibration test flight.199 of 469 words
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