Aurora announces Orion UAS’ first flight
The Orion unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed by Aurora Flight Sciences successfully completed its first flight on 24 August. The company announced the news at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference on 17 September.
The company said that during the three hours and thirty-one minute flight, conducted from a western test range, the UAV reach an altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level.
Aurora is developing the Orion as a long-endurance UAV to provide extreme persistence for military applications such as ISR and communication relay.
The system was selected by the US Air Force Research Laboratory in 2010 to meet the objectives of the medium altitude global ISR and Communications (MAGIC) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. The goal is to demonstrate a five-day flight at 20,000ft with a 453kg ISR payload.
The system's design goals include the capability to support multiple intelligence missions simultaneously, including FMV EO/IR sensor, communication relay, cross cueing and payload fusion, WAAS, VADER, and SIGINT options. It will also have the potential to provide strike capability for the warfighter with the ability to carry over 1,000 lbs per wing hardpoint.
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