The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center conducted successful tests of the newest helicopter-launched unmanned aircraft system from.
The Army Engineers, working with Area-I counterparts, test fired the Air-Launched, Tube-Integrated, Unmanned System or ALTIUS off a UH-60 helicopter at Yuma Proving Ground as part of the Air-launched Effects program to investigate the feasibility of launching and controlling an unmanned aerial system from a rotorcraft.
According to Chief Executive Officer at Area-I, Inc., Nicholas Alley the ALTIUS was designed to fold up and fit into a small tube, which is carried on a larger, “mothership” aircraft.
ALTIUS is then launched from that tube, autonomously unfolds itself, transitions to flight and transforms into a highly capable aerial sensor platform.
The next-generation of the unmanned aircraft system could be deployable from helicopter mid-air and will be operating in and among the manned formation where levels of autonomy will dictate how close. Furthermore, the new air-launched drone potentially to launch from an AC-130 aircraft or another fixed-wing or rotary-wing platforms.
Area-I has also developed an ALTIUS variant for the Navy, which was designed to launch from the smaller Sonobuoy Launch Container (SLC). This variant was specifically tailored to conduct Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) missions and carries a sensitive magnetometer which is used to detect submarines for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).