Onyx is an autonomous precision airdrop system that fulfills precision airdrop requirements under the U.S. Army's Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS) program. The JPADS program was developed to transition the U.S. military's WWII-era low-altitude, low-accuracy, high-vulnerability airdrop practices into the twenty-first century. Atair's Onyx is a family of fielded, Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) systems designed with capabilities of delivering payloads ranging from 0 lbs to 700 lbs. Onyx Systems are available in two payload configurations: Onyx Micro Light (10 to 150 lbs), and Onyx Ultra Light (250 to 700 lbs).
Existing airdrop methods expose ground forces conducting resupply operations to the growing threat from insurgents' low-cost improvised explosive devices (IEDs); air crews are exposed to threat from man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Onyx systems can be likened to smart bombs, but for the safe, precision delivery of cargo. Onyx systems are air-deployed from military fixed-wing and rotary aircraft (A/C), such as a C-130 or C-17, at altitudes up to 35,000 ft and speeds up to 150 KIAS, autonomously glide over 40 km, and land cargo within a circular error probability (CEP) of 100 m. Onyx systems provide military planners with the capability of strategically and covertly positioning equipment and supplies for rapidly moving ground and special operations forces. Onyx systems can also be used for the precision emplacement of unattended ground sensors and small munitions deployed from military A/C and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Atair has developed patented Adaptive Control to increase the mission critical capabilities and flexibility in deployment of Onyx systems. Adaptive Control enables Onyx systems to fly correctly with gross variances in wing loading, asymmetrically-rigged payloads caused by pre-flight rigging errors or cargo changes, and even correct for damage induced while in flight.
Five Onyx systems flying in formation
Collision Avoidance and Formation Flying
Onyx has the advanced capability of operating in an environment in which multiple systems are simultaneously deployed in the same air space. This is accomplished using real-time collision avoidance and swarming/flocking flight algorithms that guide dynamic payloads to one or multiple targets without the possibility of midair collisions. These algorithms operate in a fully decentralized fashion so that there is no need for a supervisory controller.
Onyx Base Station
Onyx Base Station Software
Onyx Base Station is an innovative Windows application that can be used on non-JPADS-MP compatible aircraft to perform mission planning and sophisticated real-time system tracking on any number of Onyx systems.
Onyx Base Station allows mission planning data to be easily entered and wirelessly uploaded to any number of Onyx systems. A series of 2-D and 3-D windows with map underlays displays position and status information in real-time, or during post-analysis, for multiple Onyx systems.