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US Navy Awards UCAS-D Contract To Northrop Grumman-Led X-47 Team

File image of the X-47B UAS.
by Staff Writers
San Diego CA (SPX) Aug 06, 2007
The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman, a six-year, $635.8 million contract to conduct the first ever at-sea carrier launches and recoveries with a fixed-wing unmanned air system (UAS), the X-47B. The Navy's program, known as the Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D), will demonstrate the capability of an autonomous, low-observable air vehicle. The UCAS-D effort will mature critical technologies, reduce unmanned air system carrier integration risks and provide information necessary to support a potential follow-on acquisition milestone.

"We are proud of our legacy of innovation and creativity in developing new combat capabilities and are pleased to be selected to lead this revolutionary advancement in unmanned systems capabilities," said Scott Seymour, president of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.

"The UCAS-D award is the culmination of several years of effort with the Navy to show the benefit of melding the capabilities of a survivable, persistent, long-range UCAS with those of the aircraft carrier," said Gary Ervin, vice president for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Western Region sector. "The UCAS-D program will reduce the risk of eventual integration of unmanned air systems into carrier environments."

Northrop Grumman will build for the Navy two air vehicles and conduct technology maturation activities. The first air vehicle is scheduled to fly in late 2009 and will begin a series of detailed flight envelope and land-based carrier integration and qualification events beginning in 2010. The first at-sea carrier landings are planned for late 2011 with follow-on analysis and program completion by 2013.

The X-47B air vehicles are being assembled in Palmdale, Calif., by a world-class industrial team that includes Lockheed Martin, Pratt and Whitney, GKN Aerospace, GE Aviation, Honeywell, Eaton Aerospace, Moog Inc., Wind River, Goodrich, Parker Aerospace, Dell, Hamilton Sundstrand, and Rockwell Collins.

The X-47B is the latest addition to a growing family of systems developed by Northrop Grumman, the leading producer of unmanned aerial systems. The UCAS concept builds on the company's extensive experience with autonomous flight control that includes thousands of flight hours by the combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk, the MQ-5B Hunter and the MQ-8 Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tactical unmanned system -- the first completely autonomous VTOL aircraft to land aboard a Navy vessel underway. The UCAS-D contract furthers Northrop Grumman's legacy of building carrier-based airplanes such as the EA-6B and E-2D, with significant roles in the F/A-18E/F/G and F-35C aircraft programs.

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Boeing Awarded US Marine Corps Contract To Extend Scaneagle Services
St. Louis (SPX) Aug 01, 2007
Boeing has been awarded a three and one half-year, $18 million U.S. Marine Corps contract to provide additional ScanEagle intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support services to the Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF). Boeing, in partnership with Insitu, Inc., developers of ScanEagle, make up Team ScanEagle. ScanEagle, a long-endurance, fully autonomous unmanned aircraft, has been used by the Marines since July 2004, the U.S. Navy since September 2005 and the Australian Defense Forces since November 2006.

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