In a recent news release put out by U.S. Army said that Yuma Proving Ground’s aviation testers are preparing for an appearance of future tactical unmanned aircraft.
Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is a United States Army proving ground and one of the largest military installations in the world.
Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper stressed that YPG’s role as independent arbiters of new materiel’s performance ensures that the Army gets value for its money.
“Yuma is also providing an important role in terms of being good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars,” said Esper. “We invest a lot of money into modernizing our force and want to be sure we get what we pay for.”
The proving ground conducts tests on nearly every weapon in the ground combat arsenal. Nearly all the long-range artillery testing for U.S. ground forces takes place here in an area almost completely removed from urban encroachment and noise concerns.
Also, YPG averages 360 days of clear weather annually and boasts stable air that is perfect for aircraft testing.
Once here, airframe needs to prove its airworthiness once weapons systems and sensors are integrated into the platform. As such, YPG’s aviation testers are already preparing for the appearance of the Future Vertical Lift unmanned aircraft.
“It will have longer duration flight, higher altitudes, and more weapons capacity or payload capability,” said Ross Gwynn, Aviation Systems and Electronic Test Division chief. “One way or another, we will see a lot of work because of that initiative.”
A next-generation unmanned aircraft system is a part of U.S. Army’s ongoing Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program and designing to fly in formation with those future helicopters, operate autonomously or swarm enemy air defenses.