The US Army’s Hunter unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has successfully completed launch and recovery after being equipped with an automatic take-off and landing system (ATLS) by Northrop Grumman.

The ATLS eliminates the need for an external pilot (EP) to control the aircraft during take-off and landing, and allows the Hunter to automatically take-off and land at presurveyed points on the runway.

The short-range MQ-5B Hunter, which is currently deployed in contingency operations, provides soldiers with state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA), communications relay, signal intelligence and weapons delivery.

With its multimission optronic payload, the MQ-5B collects RSTA information in real time and relays it via video link to commanders and soldiers on the ground.

The Hunter features a robust, fixed-wing, twin-tail-boom design with redundant control systems powered by two heavy fuel engines.

It also features a relay mode that allows one Hunter to be controlled by another UAS at extended ranges or over terrain obstacles.