Boeing UAV May Deliver Cargo For Marines

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Boeing announced this week that it has received a $500,000 contract from the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory to demonstrate the capabilities of its A160T Hummingbird, an unmanned rotorcraft. The Marines are studying the possibility of using the vehicle as a replacement for trucks to deliver supplies. In flights that will take place by February, Boeing said it will demonstrate that the A160T can deliver at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another in fewer than six hours per day for three consecutive days. "Since 2007, when the A160T made its first flight, it has shown it has the ability to carry multiple payloads and perform at various altitudes and speeds," said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. "We are confident it will perform well for the Marines." Boeing recently created a new Unmanned Airborne Systems division.

The A160T, 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, has a 2,500-pound payload capacity. It features a unique optimum-speed-rotor technology that significantly improves overall performance efficiency by adjusting the rotor's speed at different altitudes, gross weights and cruise speeds, Boeing said. It can hover at 20,000 feet, cruise at more than 140 knots, and fly for over 18 hours without refueling. Also this week, Boeing said the new UAS division will work with Schiebel Industries, of Austria, to market Schiebel's S-100 Camcopter, a compact UAV that provides a platform for a wide variety of payloads, including a stabilized video system for surveillance and reconnaissance. Boeing's UAS division also includes ScanEagle, SolarEagle, and MQ-X.