The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has selected Boeing [NYSE: BA] to receive a $3 million award to conduct a concept development study for the DARPA-U.S. Army Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft, or UCAR, program.
A 12-month study, phase I of the UCAR program, will produce a system capabilities document and a detailed development plan for follow-on UCAR program phases.
"This is a tremendous achievement," said Boeing UCAR Program Manager Pat O'Neil. "We have unique concepts and an understanding of how this system will fit into the U.S. Army's objective force. We look forward to blazing the trail for this exciting, new technology and taking full advantage of all of Boeing Unmanned Systems' work done to date."
The goal of the UCAR program is to develop and demonstrate the capability to conduct sustained armed reconnaissance and attack missions with limited risk to human life and minimal logistics and support systems as an integral element of the Army's objective force.
"We envision UCAR as a strong complement to existing and future combat rotorcraft and ground systems," said David Jones, Boeing director of Army Unmanned Systems. "We want to produce a unique, lethal and autonomous unmanned system for the soldier that can operate in virtually any environment."
Three competing companies received similar awards. After the concept development studies are complete, DARPA will choose two contractors for a nine-month preliminary design phase, followed by a system development phase that will yield two prototype vehicles. In the final phase, ending in 2009, the Army will take ownership of the winning system and begin its system design and development, leading to fielding the system in the 2010-2012 timeframe.
The Boeing Company is the world's largest manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners and military aircraft. In terms of sales, Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. Total company revenues for 2001 were $58 billion.
Boeing Unmanned Systems is part of Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems, which designs, produces and provides follow-on support for fighters, bombers, transports, rotorcraft and weapons for the United States and its allies around the globe. The world's largest military aircraft manufacturer, Boeing has delivered more than 130,000 military aircraft to the U.S. government and international customers.