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Fort Benning testing new drone technology

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The US Army may be adding a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—commonly referred to as a drone—to their force. But first, the technology is being tested at Fort Benning.

Simulations and test flight evaluations are taking place at McKenna MOUT from June 23-27.

The experiments are testing algorithms and sensors which will enable low-altitude autonomous flight. The capability could reduce vulnerability during combat operations.

A 175 lb. helicopter with a 10 ft. rotor diameter is being used for the test flights. It's equipped with onboard navigation and guidance control systems.

Test flights include remote-controlled flights as well as autonomous flights, in which "waypoints" are input into the onboard guidance system.

The Maneuver Center of Excellence's Maneuver Battle Lab (MBL) is collaborating with Georgia Technical Research Institute (GTRI) to conduct the evaluations.

GTRI has conducted similar testing and experimentation with the Maneuver Battle Lab since 2004, and this latest testing continues to highlight the partnership between the Department of Defense, Fort Benning and institutions of higher learning.

The Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama are sponsoring the test flights.

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