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USAF Awards Contract To Aurora Flight Sciences

Will Continue Development Of The Orion UAS

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. 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.

According to Aurora Flight Sciences, the Orion Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aircraft combines a highly efficient aerodynamic design with lightweight construction and efficient heavy fuel propulsion, enabling over three times the endurance and range of current ISR platforms. This persistence enables a single aircraft to perform a continuous five day mission while carrying over 1,000 lbs of mission payloads, enabling a greatly extended area of coverage. 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.

The aircraft has a published altitude operating range of 15,000-30,000 feet, and can carry payloads up to 2,800 pounds, according to the company.

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, MS, and Manassas, VA.

(Source: Aurora Flight Sciences news release Image from file)

FMI: www.aurora.aero

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