Boeing to assist Air Force with airborne control of drones

Foxhunt demo will test control network for small UAVs

Boeing Co. will assist the Air Force Research Laboratory to further develop and demonstrate technologies for the airborne launch and recovery of unmanned aerial vehicles under a three-year, $9.8 million contract, company officials said June 10.

The Foxhunt Multi-Small Unmanned Aerial System Cooperative Control Demonstration will enable multiple small UAVs to coordinate with each other under the direction of an airborne control station, the officials said.

Foxhunt is part of the Air Force's quest for a networked system that would address the air launch, command and control, and recovery of unmanned aerial systems from an airborne mothership, the officials said. In the system envisioned, the UAVs would serve as an extension of the mothership’s sensor and weapon suites.

The approach would extend the range for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities and also allow for safer stand-off distances for controllers, the officials said.

Boeing, of Chicago, ranks No. 3 on Washington Technology's 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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