US Air Force Reaper UAS Performs First Automated Landing

By Mike Ball / 17 Sep 2018

MQ-9 Reaper UAS automated landing

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has completed the first-ever automated landing of an MQ-9 Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), followed by the first auto-takeoff. The new Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) was developed by GA-ASI to enhance mission capability.

“This new, all-weather capability greatly increases the autonomy, flexibility, combat effectiveness and safety of the MQ-9 Reaper for the USAF,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “Adding this level of automation will reduce the deployment burden of the warfighter and expand the scope of missions that can be flown by Air Force MQ-9s.”

By automating the takeoff and landing of the RPA, ATLC helps to increase the safety and efficiency of the air crews. The auto launch and recovery during these critical phases of RPA flight also enlarges the operational envelope for cross wind operations. The ATLC development program remains on track for fielding in the fall of 2019.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact