USAF MQ-9 unmanned aircraft adds capability to automatically take-off and land

SAN DIEGO. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) MQ-9 Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) automatically took-off and landed in a demonstration held last month. The Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) was developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to enhance mission capability.

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 as well as divert field landing.

The ATLC development program remains on track for fielding in the fall of 2019, officials say.