Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Boeing a $767 million
modification of a previous other transaction for prototypes agreement valued at
$291 million to design, develop, fabricate and demonstrate three full-scale,
highly survivable, flight-worthy X-45C J-UCAS air vehicles, two mission control
elements, and integrate them with the Common Operating System (COS).
The X-45C air vehicles will meet the US Air Force and US Navy mission capability
demonstration objectives, conduct experiment and assessment. Funds are expected
to cover contracted activities that are scheduled for completion in March 2010.
Boeing will continue work on the X-45C air system portion of the J-UCAS program
over the next five years. The effort will include initial investigation of
simulated aircraft carrier operations using the Joint Precision Approach and
The Common Operating System (COS), deemed as a key element for the J-UCAS air
systems, will be combined with advanced air vehicle hardware, including
integrated sensors, communication, navigation equipment and low-observability
features. J-UCAS final product will be an integrated system-of-systems comprised
of a network of high performance air vehicles that will perform the most
dangerous combat missions expected during the first half of the 21st century.
Beyond line-of-sight network connectivity will allow air systems to conduct
The first flight of Boeing's full-scale X-45C air vehicle is expected to occur
in spring 2007. The J-UCAS capabilities demonstration program will culminate in
an operational assessment to demonstrate the air systems capabilities in
realistic mission scenarios. The operational assessment is planned to start in
2007. These scenarios include suppression of enemy air defenses, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance missions. X-45C's interoperability
demonstrations with Northrop-Grumman X-47B and manned aircraft are excepted to
be carried out under this effort.
Currently, Northrop-Grumman's X-47B and Boeing's X-45C air vehicles are being
develop under the J-UCAS program, which is pursuing air systems featuring
network-centric operations and global strike capabilities. The bigger X-45C is
an evolution of X-45A unmanned combat aircraft program that began in 1998.
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