Textron Systems and Bell Helicopter have jointly launched a new laboratory in Huntsville, Ala., to develop unmanned aircraft systems. The companies said on Tuesday the facility will make it easier to quickly integrate and troubleshoot new components for both manned and unmanned systems, and will provide high-fidelity simulated environments to help with testing and system integration. A Kiowa Warrior helicopter simulator at the site will be used for training. The lab will help researchers to explore "next-generation concepts for situational awareness," said John Garrison, Bell CEO.
The lab will also make it easier for defense customers to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures for use in the field, the company said, and should shorten the time from the development phase to deployment. Bell Helicopter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron.