Tags: army | refuel | helicopter | robot

US Army Testing Robot Refueling Stations for Helicopters

Image: US Army Testing Robot Refueling Stations for Helicopters
Apache AH-64 attack helicopter, the model of helicopter to be used in phase four of testing robotic refueling stations. (Rex Features via AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 03:05 PM

The U.S. Army is testing robotic refueling stations for helicopters that can refuel a helicopter without humans being involved, according to an Army report.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center unveiled the AR3P (Autonomous and Robotic Remote Refueling Point) project that demonstrates a way to cut down on time on the ground for helicopters as well as keeping soldiers out of harm's way in isolated environments, the report said.

Soldiers who refuel helicopters could be "at risk of enemy targeting," the Army report said.

"One of the most useful activities of the S&T (science and technology) enterprise is to conduct concept demonstrations like the AR3P," said Layne Merritt, the chief engineer for aviation development at the U.S. Army center, according to the report.

Off-the-shelf materials were used in the robotic system, but the fuel port was designed by the aviation center, the Army report said.

"It makes sense for us to fill this need," said Will Nikonchuk, the AR3P project lead. "We address target acquisition and engagement all of the time as the aviation and missile research and development community," Nikonchuk added.

Technical challenges for the project include size, weight, power, robotic control, detectability, and durability, the report said. Nikonchuk said that risk areas were being addressed. The upcoming phase three of testing will include a Mosquito Test aircraft. Phase four will include an Apache AH-64 flight test at the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate in Fort Eustis, Va., the report said.

The robotic system could be similar to Tesla's robotic car charger, according to Engadget. The robot arms in that system self-align to hook the fuel line to the vehicle without human help.

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The U.S. Army is testing robotic refueling stations for helicopters that can refuel a helicopter without humans being involved, according to an Army report.
army, refuel, helicopter, robot
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2017-05-19
Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 03:05 PM
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