Boeing has introduced its newest unmanned platform, the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
Designed for global defense customers by Boeing Australia, it is the company’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.
The aircraft will complement and extend airborne missions through smart teaming with existing military aircraft.
A model of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow by the Australian Minister for Defence, the Honourable Christopher Pyne Members of Parliament (MP). As a research and development activity, the Australian Government and Boeing will produce a concept demonstrator called the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program that will provide key learnings toward the production of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
«The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned/unmanned missions», said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems. «With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power».
The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will:
provide fighter-like performance, measuring 38 feet long (11.7 metres) and able to fly more than 2,000 nautical miles/2,302 miles/3704 km;
integrate sensor packages onboard to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and electronic warfare;
use artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft.
«This aircraft is a historic endeavor for Boeing. Not only is it developed outside the United States, it is also designed so that our global customers can integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements», said Marc Allen, president, Boeing International. «The Boeing Airpower Teaming System provides a transformational capability in terms of defense, and our customers – led by Australia – effectively become partners on the program with the ability to grow their own sovereign capabilities to support it, including a high-tech workforce».
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a Prototype Project Agreement through an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with Consortium Management Group (CMG) on behalf of Consortium for Command, Control and Communications in Cyberspace (C5) valued at $18 million to design, develop and test a cyber/electronic warfare podded system for the «Air Large» component of the U.S. Army’s Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) family of systems program.
Lockheed Martin created an open architecture system called Silent CROW that can be easily configured for a variety of airborne and ground platforms, such as a wing-mounted pod for Group 4 unmanned aerial systems. Silent CROW would enable U.S. soldiers to disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive and destroy adversaries’ electronic systems through electronic support, electronic attack and cyber techniques.
«Lockheed Martin’s deep roots in cyberspace allow us to anticipate future threats while actively solving today’s most complex cyber problems», said Deon Viergutz, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Spectrum Convergence. «We’re prioritizing the Army’s critical needs by partnering with them and investing in new technologies that are scalable and affordable».
Lockheed Martin has decades of cyber and integrated electronic warfare experience, providing real-time situational awareness and countermeasure technologies to protect land, sea and air assets from attacks. The team has completed extensive internal research, development and testing on Silent CROW and will continue to evolve it’s cyber and electronic warfare systems to meet the emerging needs of our Department of Defense (DoD) customers and overcome advances in adversary technologies.
MBDA has received a contract for the integration of its Brimstone high-precision strike missile onto the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted aircraft developed and manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI).
Brimstone and Protector RG Mk1 will provide key new capabilities to the Royal Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) force, enabling them to engage high-speed moving and manoeuvring targets (including maritime fast attack craft for the first time). The Protector RG Mk1 can carry three lightweight Brimstones per weapon station, and so offers a much higher loadout than the Reaper platform it will replace.
Integration of Brimstone onto Protector RG Mk1 (which is the weaponised version of MQ-9B SkyGuardian) follows a series of successful firing trials of Brimstone from the Reaper/Predator B aircraft in the United States that demonstrated the advancement in performance that Brimstone offers. Brimstone integration will be completed in time for the entry to service of the aircraft with the RAF.
James Allibone, MBDA’s UK Sales Director, said: «Protector RG Mk1 is the third UK air platform to benefit from the unmatched capabilities of the Brimstone missile, providing UK Armed Forces with vital operational advantages and sovereign defence capabilities. Brimstone is unique in its ability to be carried by platforms in all domains, land, sea and air, providing a common weapon that delivers both operational and cost benefits. Commonality is a key part of all MBDA’s latest systems, and is a major contributor to the £1.7 billion in savings that the partnership approach between the UK MoD and MBDA has generated».
Earlier in 2018, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) announced a £400 million contract with MBDA for the Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) of Brimstone missile, to build new missiles and extend this missile’s service life beyond 2030.
Lockheed Martin completed the successful integration of a Telephonics RDR-1700B radar onto a 74K aerostat for land and sea missions. This latest milestone follows Lockheed Martin’s successful integration of various payloads including radar sensors from Telephonics, Leonardo and Northrop Grumman as well as electro-optic/infra-red cameras from L-3 Wescam.
«The integration of the Telephonics radar showcases our continued commitment to exploring the latest technologies as part of our aerostat systems», said Jerry Mamrol, vice president of Navigation, Surveillance and Unmanned Systems for Lockheed Martin. «It allows for multi-domain, modular and open architecture capabilities for faster, more cost-effective development efforts».
The Lockheed Martin 74K Aerostat System, with integrated multi-mission payloads and high operational availability, has supported the warfighter in many harsh and challenging environments. The 74K aerostat system leverages a wide-area, secure communications backbone for the integration of threat reporting from multiple available sensor assets. With more than 1.6 million combat mission flight hours, the robust design, communications relay and C4 integration on the 74K aerostat supports automated interoperability between tactical and theater surveillance assets and dissemination of operational threat data to aid interdiction of hostile fires and unconventional threats.
Lockheed Martin has specialized in lighter-than-air technology for over 95 years, delivering persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems to the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and national agencies.
U.S. Army pilots exercised supervised autonomy to direct an Optionally-Piloted Helicopter (OPV) through a series of missions to demonstrate technology developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The series of flights marked the first time that non-Sikorsky pilots operated the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA), a modified S-76B commercial helicopter, as an OPV aircraft.
«Future vertical lift aircraft will require robust autonomous and optimally-piloted systems to complete missions and improve safety», said Chris Van Buiten, vice president, Sikorsky Innovations. «We could not be more thrilled to welcome Army aviators to the cockpit to experience first-hand the reliability of optimally-piloted technology developed by the innovative engineers at Sikorsky and DARPA. These aviators experienced the same technology that we are installing and testing on a Black Hawk that will take its first flight over the next several months».
SARA, which has more than 300 hours of autonomous flight, successfully demonstrated the advanced capabilities developed as part of the third phase of DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program. The aircraft was operated at different times by pilots on board and pilots on the ground. Sikorsky’s MATRIX Technology autonomous software and hardware, which is installed on SARA, executed various scenarios including:
Automated Take Off and Landing: The helicopter autonomously executed take-off, traveled to its destination, and autonomously landed;
Obstacle Avoidance: The helicopter’s LIDAR and cameras enabled it to detect and avoid unknown objects such as wires, towers and moving vehicles;
Automatic Landing Zone Selection: The helicopter’s LIDAR sensors determined a safe landing zone;
Contour Flight: The helicopter flew low to the ground and behind trees.
The recent Mission Software Flight Demonstration was a collaboration with the U.S. Army’s Aviation Development Directorate, Sikorsky and DARPA. The Army and DARPA are working with Sikorsky to improve and expand ALIAS capabilities developed as a tailorable autonomy kit for installation in both fixed wing airplanes and helicopters.
Over the next few months, Sikorsky will for the first time fly a Black Hawk equipped with ALIAS. The company is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to certify ALIAS/MATRIX technology so that it will be available on current and future commercial and military aircraft.
«We’re demonstrating a certifiable autonomy solution that is going to drastically change the way pilots fly», said Mark Ward, Sikorsky Chief Pilot, Stratford, Conn. Flight Test Center. «We’re confident that MATRIX Technology will allow pilots to focus on their missions. This technology will ultimately decrease instances of the number one cause of helicopter crashes: Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)».
Through the DARPA ALIAS program, Sikorsky is developing an OPV approach it describes as pilot directed autonomy that will give operators the confidence to fly aircraft safely, reliably and affordably in optimally piloted modes enabling flight with two, one or zero crew. The program will improve operator decision aiding for manned operations while also enabling both unmanned and reduced crew operations.
Leonardo has completed series of successful test flights of its Falco EVO Remotely-Piloted Air System (RPAS) in Bulgaria. The flight campaign was to validate a package of upgrades that extends the endurance and operational range of the platform for overland and maritime missions. This includes a Beyond-Line-Of-Sight (BLOS) satellite data-link system and a new propulsion system based on a heavy-fuel engine. As well as extending the flight envelope of the Falco EVO, the new engine was also proven to generate more electricity on-board the platform, granting access to more power-intensive ISR sensors required for complex missions.
Further trials are now planned that will see the Falco EVO flying equipped with Leonardo’s new Gabbiano TS Ultra-Light (UL) surveillance radar (launched at the Paris Air Show in 2017) combined with a high-definition InfraRed (IR) electro-optical system, Automatic Identification System, and a comms relay suite.
The Falco EVO, the longest-endurance model from Leonardo’s Falco RPAS family, is a surveillance and intelligence-gathering platform suited to overland and maritime missions. It can fly for more than 20 hours while carrying a payload of up to 100 kg. The Falco EVO has already been delivered to its launch customer in the Middle East region, while the original Falco RPAS has been chosen by five customers. The Falco EVO is currently engaged in a selection process for a prestigious international client and will shortly be deployed in the Mediterranean for a European surveillance programme.
More than 50 Falco family RPAS are currently engaged on operations around the world. Some customers choose to own and operate Falco family platforms while others, such as the United Nations for its humanitarian MONUSCO mission, have selected Leonardo to deliver a managed service package. Under this kind of arrangement, Leonardo owns and operates the Falco and provides surveillance information directly to the customer. This «managed service» model is expected to be a growth area for Leonardo which is expanding its «drones as a service» offering, including to civilian customers such as police and emergency responders.
Northrop Grumman Corporation recently began flight tests for MQ-8C Fire Scout aircraft produced in Moss Point at the Trent Lott International Airport, a major milestone for the company and the region’s aerospace economy.
Northrop Grumman’s Moss Point facility is key to producing and testing the MQ-8C Fire Scout, the U.S. Navy’s newest autonomous helicopter that is bringing increased speed, endurance and payload capacity to distributed maritime operations. The U.S. Navy recently completed initial operational test and evaluation aboard the USS Coronado (LCS-4) for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, which has over 1,500 program flight hours. The aircraft is a modified Bell 407 helicopter that is produced in Moss Point and supports quality manufacturing jobs in Mississippi.
«Building on Northrop Grumman’s recent announcement of new production capabilities in Moss Point and a 40 percent increase in employment at the site, the ability to now conduct MQ-8C Fire Scout flight tests where the production occurs will bring new efficiencies and effectiveness to our local operations and improve our ability to serve the U.S. Navy», said Melissa Packwood, program director, Fire Scout, Northrop Grumman.
In June, elected officials joined local employees to cut the ribbon on the new machine shop section that delivers important capabilities at Northrop Grumman’s Moss Point manufacturing center. For more than a decade, Gulf Coast employees have manufactured rotary and fixed wing autonomous systems in Moss Point that support the U.S. and its global allies. Recent facility upgrades have allowed for new work on manned aircraft to come to the site, diversifying the portfolio of work and bringing new jobs to the region.
In April 2004, Northrop Grumman broke ground in Moss Point with site construction beginning in 2005. In April 2006, Northrop Grumman contributed to aerospace industry growth in southern Mississippi when the ribbon was cut on the 101,000 square-foot facility. The company celebrated its 10-year anniversary at the site in 2016 and recently extended its lease adjacent to Trent Lott International Airport through 2026.
41.4 feet/12.6 m
7.8 feet/2.4 m
Blades Folded Hangar
7.8×34.7×10.9 feet/2.4×10.6×3.3 m
10.9 feet/3.3 m
35 feet/10.7 m
Gross Takeoff Weight
6,000 lbs./2,721.5 kg
Rolls-Royce M250-C47B with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)
140 knots/161 mph/259 km/h (maximum)
17,000 feet/5,182 m
Maximum Payload (Internal)
1,000 lbs./453.6 kg
600 lbs./272 kg (11 hrs. endurance)
Maximum Sling Load
2,650 lbs./1,202 kg
651 shp/485.45 kW
42.95 inch/1.09 m
24.81 inch/0.63 m
274 lbs./124.3 kg
1CF (centrifugal high-pressure)
2HP (two-stage high-pressure turbine), 2PT (two-stage power turbine)
Rolls-Royce engines have been selected by Boeing to power the U.S. Navy’s new MQ-25 Stingray aircraft, which will provide unmanned, carrier-based air-to-air refuelling.
The U.S. Navy has awarded the MQ-25A engineering and manufacturing contract to Boeing to provide four aircraft. The MQ-25 is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with a much-needed refuelling capability and extend the range of combat aircraft from carriers.
Each MQ-25 aircraft will be powered by a single Rolls-Royce AE 3007N engine, manufactured in Indianapolis, U.S. The AE 3007N, the latest variant of the Rolls-Royce AE family of engines, will provide more than 10,000 lbs./4,536 kg of thrust and additional electrical power to the aircraft.
Jarrett Jones, Rolls-Royce, Executive Vice President, Customer Business, Government Relations and Sales, said: «Congratulations to Boeing for being selected to develop this historic aircraft in support of the U.S. Navy. For Rolls-Royce, it will expand our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) expertise with unmanned aircraft in the U.S. Navy fleet, which includes the Triton and Fire Scout aircraft».
The proven Rolls-Royce AE family of engines includes turbofan, turboprop and turboshaft variants, and the total AE engine fleet has accumulated more than 74 million engine flight hours. AE engines power aircraft for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and a variety of military and civilian aircraft in service around the world. Rolls-Royce has delivered nearly 7,000 AE engines from the company’s advanced manufacturing facility in Indianapolis.
The AE 3007H turbofan engine powers the U.S. Navy’s Triton and the Air Force Global Hawk, as well as commercial and business aviation aircraft. The AE 2100 turboprop powers the Lockheed Martin C-130J and LM-100J, as well as the C-27J and Saab 2000; and the AE 1107C turboshaft powers the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey operated by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The MT7, a marinized variant of the AE 1107, will power the U.S. Navy’s Ship-to-Shore Connector hovercraft.
Boeing will build the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft, the MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueler, through an $805 million contract awarded on August 30, 2018.
Boeing was awarded the engineering and manufacturing development contract to provide four aircraft. Boeing plans to perform the MQ-25 Stingray work in St. Louis.
«As a company, we made an investment in both our team and in an unmanned aircraft system that meets the U.S. Navy’s refueling requirements», said Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. «The fact that we’re already preparing for first flight is thanks to an outstanding team who understands the Navy and their need to have this important asset on carrier decks around the world».
MQ-25 Stingray is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with a much-needed refueling capability. According to the U.S. Navy, the MQ-25 Stingray will allow for better use of combat strike fighters by extending the range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II aircraft. MQ-25 Stingray will also seamlessly integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.
«MQ-25A is a hallmark acquisition program», said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James F. Geurts. «This program is a great example of how the acquisition and requirements communities work hand in hand to rapidly deliver capabilities to our Sailors and Marines in the fleet».
When operational, MQ-25 Stingray will improve the performance, efficiency, and safety of the carrier air wing and provide longer range and greater persistence tanking capability to execute missions that otherwise could not be performed.
«This is an historic day», said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. «We will look back on this day and recognize that this event represents a dramatic shift in the way we define warfighting requirements, work with industry, integrate unmanned and manned aircraft, and improve the lethality of the airwing – all at relevant speed. Everyone who helped achieve this milestone should be proud we’re here. But we have a lot more to do. It’s not the time to take our foot off the gas. Let’s keep charging».
The award is the culmination of a competitive source selection process supported by personnel from Naval Air Systems Command and the Unmanned Carrier Aviation program office (PMA-268) at Patuxent River.
MQ-25 is an accelerated acquisition program that expedites decisions that will enable rapid actions with less overhead. The intent is to significantly reduce development timelines from contract award to initial operational capability by five to six years. By reducing the number of key performance parameters to mission tanking and carrier suitability, industry has increased flexibility to rapidly design a system that meets those requirements.
Boeing has been providing carrier aircraft to the U.S. Navy for more than 90 years.
The Australian Department of Defence officially announced its plan on June 26, 2018 to purchase the Northrop Grumman Corporation-built MQ-4C Triton aircraft system, further cementing the company’s commitment to a longstanding U.S. ally.
An unmanned aircraft system with an autonomous capability built for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, MQ-4C Triton is the first Northrop Grumman-built aircraft system Australia has purchased. The system will be operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
«Northrop Grumman looks forward to bringing the MQ-4C Triton unmanned system with its autonomous capability to Australia», said Ian Irving, chief executive officer, Northrop Grumman Australia. «Working with the Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Navy, we are confident that we can provide the best capability to fulfill Australia’s maritime mission».
Triton can fly at altitudes of 55,000 feet/16,764 m for 24 hours at a time and is equipped with sensors that provide high-resolution imagery and near real-time video. Pilots and sensor operators fly the Triton from ground stations, which can command flights all over the world.
«Triton provides unprecedented endurance and 360-degree coverage through its unique sensor suite», said Doug Shaffer, vice president of MQ-4C Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «Australia has one of the largest sea zones in the world over which it has rights to use marine resources, also known as an Economic Exclusion Zone. As a flexible platform, MQ-4C Triton can serve in missions as varied as maritime domain awareness, target acquisition, fisheries protection, oil field monitoring and humanitarian relief».
MQ-4C Triton builds on Northrop Grumman’s legacy of success in autonomous systems. The U.S. Navy recently acquired two operational MQ-4C Triton aircraft and is under contract for six more. These aircraft will go to Guam later this year and provide the Navy with an unprecedented common operating picture of the maritime environment. MQ-4C Triton can detect, classify and track ships over large swaths of ocean and littorals. The U.S. Navy program of record is for 68 aircraft.
Northrop Grumman has been building its presence Down Under for many years. The global aerospace and technology company will be the anchor tenant of an AUD $50 million Electronic Sustainment Centre of Excellence, to be established at the Badgerys Creek Airport precinct in western Sydney. The new centre will support advanced electronics such as communications and electronic warfare equipment and targeting pods. Northrop Grumman will bring together highly skilled technicians, engineers and other professionals whose work will be further supported by the company’s high-end technology and software expertise.
Through a Global Supply Chain Deed signed with the Australian Department of Defence in 2011 and renewed in 2017, Northrop Grumman is identifying opportunities for Australian industry to be part of the company’s global supply chain. For example, Northrop Grumman’s largest Australian F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter supplier, Quickstep Technologies, demonstrated that its new production facility is equipped and qualified to manufacture and deliver quality composite parts for the F-35’s centre fuselage. At a new facility opened in Bankstown, Sydney, in 2012, Quickstep is expected to manufacture over 36,000 parts for the F-35.
Northrop Grumman also works with CEA Technologies, one of Australia’s leading military electronic systems and radar companies, and Electro Optics Systems, which develops products incorporating advanced electro-optic technologies for the global aerospace market.
«Australia and the United States are celebrating 100 Years of Mateship this year, marking an alliance that goes back to the trenches of WWI. Northrop Grumman is proud to partner with such a loyal friend and provide this unprecedented capability to the RAAF», said Irving. «We consider Triton and its autonomous technology to be the future of the next centennial of aviation, and we are honored to be part of this century-long partnership».
Provides persistent maritime ISR at a mission radius of 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km; 24 hours/7 days per week with 80% Effective Time On Station (ETOS)
Land-based air vehicle and sensor command and control
Afloat Level II payload sensor data via line-of-sight
Dual redundant flight controls and surfaces
51,000-hour airframe life
Due Regard Radar for safe separation
Anti/de-ice, bird strike, and lightning protection
Communications bandwidth management
Commercial off-the-shelf open architecture mission control system
Net-ready interoperability solution
Payload (360-degree Field of Regard)
Multi-Function Active Sensor Active Electronically Steered Array (MFAS AESA) radar:
Maritime and air-to-ground modes;
Long-range detection and classification of targets.
MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system:
High resolution at multiple field-of-views;
Full motion video.
AN/ZLQ-1 Electronic Support Measures:
Specific Emitter Identification.
Automatic Identification System:
Provides information received from VHF broadcasts on maritime vessel movements.