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Aurora wins new $48M USAF order for Orion UAS development

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World Defense & Security News - Aurora Flight Sciences
 
 
Aurora wins new $48M USAF order for Orion UAS development
 
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), the Boeing-subsidiary announced on January 3, 2018.
     
Aurora wins new 48M USAF order for Orion UAS development 640 001Aurora’s Orion Ultra Long Endurance UAS
(Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences)
     

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. Development of the Orion started in 2006 and its first flight was in August 2013. A single Orion UAS can perform two days of persistent surveillance when operating from bases over 3,000 miles away from the target of interest.

On July 1, 2015 Aurora received official notification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) that Orion set the world record for duration of flight for a remotely controlled UAV. The record was awarded based on the aircraft’s 80-hour, 2-minute and 52-second flight that took place December 5-8, 2014. The previous record for the same class of unmanned aircraft was just over 30 hours, set by a Global Hawk in 2001.

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.