Volume 03, Issue 9
X-45A achievements come from near, far
Late last year, an X-45A aircraft flew for the first time controlled remotely via satellite. A pilot-operator in Seattle took control using satellite communications after the X-45A lifted off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Seattle pilot-operator controlled the demonstrator aircraft for about six minutes, then returned control to operators at Edwards.
"This shows [that the U.S.] military can deploy unmanned combat aircraft from one location and control them from another," said Darryl Davis, J-UCAS X-45 vice president and program manager. "We're moving quickly toward delivering a 24/7 strike and reconnaissance capability to complement America's manned fighter and bomber force."
At closer range, in December two X-45As completed the program's second and third successful coordinated flights-flying in formation. With one operator controlling both, the aircraft flew in various formations and demonstrated the ability to enter and exit formation flight autonomously.
Boeing was recently awarded $767 million by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to build and demonstrate three larger X-45C aircraft, two mission control elements, and to integrate a common operating system technology for the J-UCAS program.
CENTER GETS NAME
The center, which opens in August 2005, is a joint project of Snohomish County, Wash., Boeing, Paine Field Airport and the nonprofit National Flight Interpretive Center Foundation. Seattle's Museum of Flight is providing the exhibits and managing the gallery and conference center for the county.
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