DARPA kicks off UAV prototype project

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded $8.7 million to three vendors to build prototypes of unmanned aircraft for the Army's Future Force unit.

Honeywell International Inc.'s defense and space electronics systems unit of Albuquerque, N.M., received $3.9 million; BAE Systems Aircraft Controls Inc. of Los Angeles got $2.5 million; and Aurora Flight Sciences Inc. of Manassas, Va., got $2.3 million.

Over the next six months, the contractors will develop prototypes for the Organic Air Vehicle-II program. During the first phase, the contractors will present preliminary designs. DARPA will choose the best two to continue into the second phase, which is expected to last nine months.

OAV-II will run complex environmental reconnaissance and surveillance missions, set the course for robotic and manned vehicles on the ground, and target weapons.

The prototypes the contractors are developing will weigh less than 112 pounds and include a platform for advanced sensors and non-line-of-sight networking communications.

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