Orion takes flight; Insitu tapped for ScanEagle work

Sept. 19, 2013 at 1:03 PM
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MANASSAS, Va., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The Orion long-endurance unmanned aerial system by Aurora Flight Sciences has successfully completed its first flight.

The Virginia-headquartered company said the flight lasted three hours and 31 minutes and the UAS reached an altitude of 8,000 feet. Other flight details were not disclosed.

The Orion is being developed for medium-altitude intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications-relay missions. It will be able to fly for as long as five days and will be able to carry a 1,000 pound payload.

Aurora Flight Sciences, which designs and builds aerospace vehicles for commercial and military applications, said the Orion will also have a strike capability.

In other unmanned aerial vehicle news, the U.S. Department of Defense has announced that a delivery order and an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract from U.S. Naval Air Systems Command have separately been given to Insitu Inc. for hardware repairs and modifications to ScanEagle systems that were procured by Poland under a Foreign Military Sales agreement and for ScanEagles operated by U.S. Special Operations Command.

The task order -- for Polish ScanEagles -- is worth more than $7.2 million. It is a firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for hardware repairs and modifications.

Hardware includes air vehicles, their components and ancillary equipment.

The work will be completed next September, the Department of Defense said.

The contract for U.S. Special Operations ScanEagles is for hardware and operational and maintenance services and carries a value of $300 million. The work is expected to be completed in 2016.

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