Boeing said Tuesday a prototype of the latest version of the Apache attack helicopter demonstrated an enhanced ability to control a separate unmanned drone during a test flight June 8 over the Arizona desert.
The capability for Apache pilots to control unmanned aerial vehicles is one of the key technology improvements the company said it is developing for the U.S. Army in the next-generation version of the attack helicopter, called the Apache Block III.
Remote-controlled unmanned aircraft are expected to provide Apache crews with over-the-horizon views of enemy positions, improving the survivability of the piloted aircraft, Boeing said.
In the test the Apache crew was able to control the UAV's airspeed and altitude as well as receive real-time video, the company said.
The June 8 flight took place over the desert near the company's Mesa helicopter plant where Apaches are manufactured.
The Block III helicopters are expected to be delivered to the Army beginning in mid-2011.