The U.S. Air Force has awarded a new $48 million contract to Aurora Flight Sciences for the continued development of the Orion Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
Orion is a twin-engine high performance UAS that can stay aloft over 100 hours at a time with payloads in excess of 1,000 pounds/453.6 kg. Development of the Orion started in 2006 and its first flight was in August 2013. In December 2014, the Orion established the current UAS world endurance record with an 80-hour, 2-minute and 52-second flight.
The new contract funds the development of a certified version of Orion that will be suitable for deployment anywhere in the world. The work will be performed in Columbus, Mississippi, and Manassas, Virginia.
- Reduces number of bases needed for worldwide ops;
- Reduces forward footprint minimizing personnel in harm’s way;
- Provides flexibility even when infrastructure or airfields are unavailable;
- Previously unreachable areas of vast oceans are now reachable.
|Altitude||15,000-30,000 feet/4,572-9,144 m|
|Payload||Up to 2800 lbs/1,270 kg|