Scion UAS: an optionally piloted helicopter system

Published on Oct 16, 2014

In September 2014 Scion UAS performed a series of demonstration flights of the “SA-400 Jackal” unmanned autonomous helicopter system.

The demonstration, which was performed in restricted airspace, showed the SA-400 flying without a safety pilot in the cockpit and with a payload of 100 pounds installed on the side payload mounts.

The SA-400 is designed to operate from a ship underway at sea and a large custom trailer is used to demonstrate the helicopters ability to take off from, and land on, the moving ship.

Forward flight up to 70 mph was shown and as seen in the video, convoy following and sideways flight of ~35 mph / 30 Kts was also demonstrated.

A portable Ground Control Station (GCS), located in the truck, was used to upload flights plans to the aircraft and to allow the operator to keep an eye on the general health of the system. After the flight plan has been uploaded, the onboard autopilot controls all aspects of the flight. The operator is not flying the aircraft.

The vehicle shown in the video was delivered to the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) shortly after the demonstration. NRL will use the SA-400 for research. A second vehicle will be delivered to NRL soon.


About Scion UAS

Scion UAS is focused on developing and delivering vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial systems. Founded in 2011, the company brings together expertise in advanced aerospace composite manufacturing and state-of-the-art control systems to create complete unmanned systems that are unrivaled in price and performance.

Why VTOL? One major difficulty with unmanned systems is launch and recovery. A VTOL system requires only a small open area to take off or land, thus making it ideally suited for ship-based operations or any mission profile where a large runway is not feasible.

Our manufacturing facility was designed from the ground up to produce FAA-certified manned aircraft. Scion is leading the industry by exclusively using autoclave-cured, pre-impregnated carbon fiber for small UAS. Safety and reliability are not just important, they are essential qualities as we move towards having unmanned systems join our National Airspace.