Navy steps-up development of A-160T Hummingbird unmanned helicopter for evaluation by Special Operations forces

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 15 July 2010. U.S. Navy officials are stepping up development of the Boeing A-160T unmanned helicopter to procure additional prototypes of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to support evaluations and testing by U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., on Tuesday announced they are increasing the ceiling of an order for the Boeing A-160T unmanned aviation system (UAS) because they originally underestimated the cost and schedule of developing the Hummingbird unmanned helicopter to full maturity.

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PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 15 July 2010. U.S. Navy officials are stepping up development of the Boeing A-160Tunmanned helicopter to procure additional prototypes of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to support evaluations and testing by U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., on Tuesday announced they are increasing the ceiling of an order for the Boeing A-160T unmanned aviation system (UAS) because they originally underestimated the cost and schedule of developing the Hummingbird unmanned helicopter to full maturity.

The Hummingbird UAV remains in the requirements definition stage, which requires further evaluation, Navy officials say. The unmanned helicopter made its first flight in September, 2004 at an airfield near Victorville, Calif.

Additional Navy orders of the Hummingbird UAV will consist of engineering, systems engineering, development, integration, and testing necessary to provide mature and reliable A-160T UAS with military payloads for assessment and extended user evaluation.

The A-160T Hummingbird was developed originally by Frontier Systems Inc. of Irvine, Calif. Boeing acquired Frontier Systems in 2004. Boeing Phantom Works in St. Louis will finish developing the Hummingbird UAV, and then will move the program to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

Last March Boeing demonstrated an A-160T delivering cargo to front-line troops in rough terrain under supervision of the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Boeing engineers demonstrated that the unmanned helicopter can deliver at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another 75 nautical miles away in less than six hours. The simulated mission carried 1,250-pound sling loads over two 150-nautical-mile round trips, with the Hummingbird operating autonomously on a preprogrammed mission.

In October 2009 Boeing completed 20 test flights to demonstrate a foliage-penetrating radar payload on the Hummingbird. The radar system -- Foliage Penetration Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Tracking and Engagement Radar (FORESTER) is being developed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., The FORESTER tests aboard Hummingbird were at Fort Stewart, Ga.

More information about the increased Navy order for A-160T work is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/NAVAIR/N00421/N00421-09-G-0005/listing.html. For more information contact Boeing Phantom Works online at www.boeing.com/bds/phantom_works.

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