Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

UCAV Named "Best Of What's New", Completes Low Speed Taxi Tests

X-45A conducting low speed taxi tests at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Calif.
Arlington - Dec 11, 2001
Popular Science magazine's 14th annual Best of What's New issue (December 2001) recognized the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/Air Force Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) system as one of the world's most interesting and noteworthy breakthrough products and technologies. UCAV received the grand prize in the aviation and space category for representing a significant step forward in the field of aviation and for saving human lives by keeping pilots out of harm's way.

"The unique partnership among DARPA, the Air Force and Boeing on this program is helping to push back the frontiers of unmanned systems and provide more effective and affordable tools for the warfighter," said Col. Michael Leahy, USAF, DARPA/Air Force UCAV program manager. "I'm happy to hear that Popular Science recognizes the importance of this program to the future of our country."

The honor comes to the UCAV program as the X-45A aircraft is undergoing taxi testing in preparation for its first flight during the first half of next year. Initial low speed taxi testing, completed on November 2, confirmed the autonomous operation of the vehicle as well as its responsiveness to controller commands.

Additional taxi testing will occur during the next few months to verify that all functions are operational before first flight. Ground and flight-testing is done at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California.

The X-45A demonstrator system consists of an air vehicle, mission control system and a storage container. The air vehicle has a stealthy, tailless, 27-foot long airframe with a 34-foot wingspan. It weighs 8,000 pounds (empty) and can carry a variety of precision strike munitions.

To demonstrate the technical feasibility and affordability benefits of the UCAV system, Boeing is drawing on its extensive experience and resources in the areas of manned strike aircraft; weapon systems technology; unmanned systems; and command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technology.

Boeing has produced two X-45A air vehicles, a mission control station and supportability elements for this phase of the program, the objective of which is to demonstrate that the two vehicles can actually perform a coordinated suppression of enemy air defenses mission.

To perform such missions, multiple UCAVs will be equipped with preprogrammed objectives and preliminary targeting information by ground-based mission planners. This mission can then be carried out autonomously, but can also be managed interactively or revised en route by UCAV battle managers should new objectives or targeting information dictate. Exploring this synergy of man and machine is one of the key program objectives.

Advanced decision aiding and sophisticated operator interfaces will provide the battlefield situational awareness for up to four air vehicles to be controlled by one person at a reconfigurable mission control station. This station has robust and secure satellite-relay and line-of-site communications links for distributed control in all air combat situations.

After a mission, a UCAV can be easily dismantled and placed in a container for shipment elsewhere or storage up to ten years. Container interfaces allow for periodic maintenance monitoring and software updating of the vehicle inside, which can be reassembled and prepared for combat within an hour.

Because of their small size, lack of pilot interfaces and training requirements, reusability and long-term storage capability, UCAVs are projected to cost up to 65 percent less to produce than future manned fighter aircraft and up to 75 percent less to operate and maintain than current systems.

The UCAV demonstration program is being conducted under a $191 million, 56-month cost-share agreement awarded to Boeing in March 1999 by DARPA and the Air Force. Boeing's share is $21 million.

If this demonstration program is successful, the DoD could begin employing UCAV weapon systems as early as 2008.

Related Links
The Popular Science Best of What's New
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

Washington Sharpens Eyes With Global Hawk Deployment
 Washington (AFP) Nov 26, 2001
The US military stepped up its surveillance in the skies over Afghanistan this week with the deployment of its latest pilotless spy plane, the Global Hawk. In the hunt for suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network as well as members of the Taliban militia, the Pentagon is resorting to the services of the ungainly Global Hawk, a state of the art spy plane built by Northrop Grumman, to sharpen its eyes and ears.

UAVs And Satellites Critical To Terminating al-Qaeda
Washington (AFP) Nov 17, 2001
An end game appeared to be emerging after the most decisive week in the 42-day-old US campaign in Afghanistan: an intensive drive to kill or capture al-Qaeda leaders before they can regroup from the Taliban's crashing fall in the north.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.