The US Army is developing an optionally piloted demonstrator Black Hawk helicopter in collaboration with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

Sikorsky Innovations Director Chris Van Buiten said the technology would provide commanders with manning options based on the mission and tactical situation, and significantly reduce crew limitations while increasing Black Hawk helicopter flight operations.

Sikorsky says it will fly the optionally piloted demonstrator aircraft this year and introduce the optionally piloted aircraft in 2015.

More than 3,000 Black Hawk helicopters are in use today as utility tactical transport helicopters that can also provide air assault, aeromedical evacuation, command and control, and special operations support.