Boeing to Fabricate Three Full-Scale X-45C J-UCAS Air Vehicles

Released on Tuesday, October 12, 2004
United States of America
COS - Common Operating System
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
J-UCAS - Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
The 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 Landing System.

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 global operations.

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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