Posted by John McHale
ST. LOUIS, 4 Dec. 2010. Boeing [NYSE: BA] won a $29.9 million contract for Cargo Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Services to support the U.S. Marine Corps from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Boeing will provide two A160T Hummingbird unmanned vehicles and three ground control stations, along with spares, training, and support.
The A160T aircraft designated for the contract are near completion on the Boeing production line that started up in March at the company's Mesa, Ariz., facility.
This government-owned, contractor-operated contract is the first for Hummingbirds from the company-funded production line. It calls for a period of pre-deployment operations at a military facility in the continental U.S., followed by options for a six-month deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The A160T has proven its ability to autonomously deliver cargo to forward operating bases in austere conditions in a demonstration setting," says Vic Sweberg, Unmanned Airborne Systems director for Boeing.
This past March, under contract from the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Boeing demonstrated the A160T's ability to deliver at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another base 75 nautical miles away in less than the required six hours. The simulated mission delivered 1,250-pound sling loads over two 150-nautical-mile round trips, with the A160T operating autonomously on a preprogrammed mission.