Avionics engineers at the Boeing Co. needed flight computers to control the X-45C Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS). They found a solution with a Mission Management Processing System (MMPS) from Smiths Aerospace in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Smiths Aerospace will provide mission management processing and memory storage for the air vehicle, as well as a docking station for the ground-control portion. The program will also use Smiths capabilities in image processing, georegistration, secure processing, and on-board file server memory storage systems.
Boeing workers will complete the first X-45C at their St. Louis manufacturing facility in 2006, with flight tests scheduled for 2007. Boeing previously built two X-45A vehicles, now being flight-tested at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The X-45C will be 39 feet long with a 49-foot wingspan, cruising at nearly the speed of sound. It will carry either eight Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs)-a near-precision, 250-pound weapon-or the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
The J-UCAS X-45 program is a joint program with DARPA (the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the Air Force, Navy, and Boeing, meant to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility, and operational value of an unmanned air combat system for both the Air Force and the Navy. Operational missions for the services may include suppression of enemy air defenses; strike; electronic attack; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
“This is a significant win for Smiths. We bring to the unmanned vehicle market strategic technologies which provide enhanced capabilities for the network centric battlespace,” said John Ferrie, president of Smiths Aerospace. For more information, see www.smiths-aerospace.com.