AeroVironment to develop Global Observer Stratospheric unmanned aircraft system

MONROVIA, Calif. -- AeroVironment Inc. (AV) won a contract from the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for the development and military utility assessment of its Global Observer unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The basic contract, which will be funded under a cost-plus fixed-fee arrangement, provides for the development and delivery of the initial Global Observer aircraft, and is valued at approximately $57 million.

Oct 13th, 2007

MONROVIA, Calif. --AeroVironment Inc. (AV) won a contract from the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for the development and military utility assessment of its Global Observer unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

This contract initiates a Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration, or JCTD, sponsored by multiple U.S. government organizations.

The contract calls for the development of up to three Global Observer aircraft over the next three years to demonstrate the ability to operate in the stratosphere for up to 7 days without landing.

The basic contract, which will be funded under a cost-plus fixed-fee arrangement, provides for the development and delivery of the initial Global Observer aircraft, and is valued at approximately $57 million. The contract also includes options for the development and delivery of up to two additional Global Observer aircraft, resulting in a potential contract value of $108 million.

"We believe that Global Observer represents a game-changing new capability for defense, homeland security, and, ultimately, commercial applications," comments Tim Conver, chairman and chief executive officer of AV. "We have developed the unique subsystems necessary to enable this new category of aircraft."

Multiple government organizations are sponsoring the JCTD program, reflecting broad interest in its potential capabilities for military applications. The JCTD is intended to demonstrate the tactical utility of a hydrogen-powered UAS for long-duration (five- to seven-day) missions at altitudes from 55,000 to 65,000 feet.

The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts (DUSD (AS&C)) selected Global Observer as a Fiscal Year 2007 JCTD Rolling Start in the Fiscal Year 2007 Advanced Concept/Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (ACTD/JCTD) Congressional Report. The DUSD (AS&C) has designated USSOCOM as the Technical Manager to lead the JCTD.

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