Navy gets contract order for drone fleet

Aug. 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department said it awarded a California defense company a $15 million contract related to an airborne surveillance and strike vehicle.

The Pentagon said General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. won a contract to conduct for the Navy a preliminary design review assessment for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike Air Vehicle.

"The objective of the UCLASS system is to enhance aircraft carrier/air wing operations by providing a responsive, world-wide presence via an organic, sea-based Unmanned Aerial System, with persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting, and strike capabilities," the Defense Department said in a statement announcing contracts for Wednesday.

The Defense Department said work would be completed for the firm-fixed-price contract at the General Atomics' facility in Poway, Calif.

It's part of the Navy's plan to complete a drone arsenal for aircraft carriers.

General Atomics said in July the Army tested its Gray Eagle drone at its El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, Calif.

The drone has an extended flight time and can carry a heavier payload than earlier configurations.

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