Aurora picks up Army UAS work

Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. will continue to develop the Orion HALL ultra-long endurance unmanned aircraft system under a $6.1 million contract awarded by the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. If all options are exercised, the contract value could reach $27.7 million.

Orion HALL will serve as the demonstration test bed for an advanced hydrogen propulsion system. Aurora is testing a Boeing hydrogen engine in its ultra-high altitude test facility in Manassas, Va. With the advanced engine, the Orion HALL Objective System would be able to carry payloads of up to 400 pounds to altitudes of up to 65,000 feet for endurances over 100 hours.

Development of Orion HALL began in 2006. It builds upon more than a decade of earlier design experience accumulated by Aurora developing the Perseus and Theseus high-altitude aircraft for NASA.

Operational versions of Orion HALL could serve a variety of military missions and will provide persistent surveillance, monitoring and tracking targets of interest on the ground. It also could be applied to global change and environmental research where it could monitor and track the formation of hurricanes and other severe storms.

Aurora is based in Manassas, Va.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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