US Air Force Tests Robotic Aircraft Weapon Loading System
The US Air Force recently tested a robotic system prototype for aircraft weapon loading at the Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
The Square One Systems Design, MHU-TSX, uses non-hydraulic actuation making its movements precise, a key advantage over the current weapon hauling systems, the Jackson-based company revealed.
Bob Viola, Square One Systems Design director of engineering, stated that adding a sensor package to the system would make it more autonomous, leaving the personnel only to “supervise what it’s doing, which should make the loading process quicker.”
Air Force Initiative
The company began product development as part of an air force initiative called AFWERX seeking partnerships with “technology-focused private businesses” to solve the service’s problems.
Viola said they were “aware that weapons loading was an ongoing area that the Air Force would like to see modernized and we’d actually done some early concepts.”
“AFWERX was our conduit in, then Global Strike Command and Material Command became responsive to our ideas, from there becoming our partners within the program.”
Six-decade-old Loading Equipment
Providing further insight about the air force’s loading issue, Mike Black, Air Force Global Strike Command munitions division modernization branch chief, said that the “design of our current equipment is between 50 to 60 years old,” and “lacks compatibility with our newer, heavier hypersonic armaments.”
The 2nd Maintenance Group tested the system and is awaiting the results. The developers said that they are expecting a revision but are confident of the system’s potential to revolutionize aircraft maintenance.