The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has received the prestigious Johnston Memorial Trophy from the London-based Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators for the accomplishments of the X-45A Joint-Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program.
"This is quite an honor," said George Muellner, Boeing Advanced Systems president. "This is the first time a Boeing program has received this award and the first time it has been bestowed on an unmanned aircraft, which speaks highly of the company and the incredible advances we accomplished with the X-45A. We continue to use the technology and knowledge we developed from the X-45A's 64 flights for other unmanned programs, and its legacy lives on with this recognition."
Chief of the Air Staff and Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy presented the award to Boeing Nov. 20 in London's historic Guildhall. The X-45A is the first American program to receive the award since the Voyager team took top honors in 1986.
The program solidified its award nomination and selection during its final flights in August 2005 when two X-45As, flying autonomously, identified, attacked and destroyed pre-identified ground-based radars and associated missile launchers before they could launch surface-to-air missiles. The aircraft successfully completed the simulated combat air patrol exercise and returned safely.
"This trophy, awarded since 1931, is presented to an individual, a complete aircraft crew or an organization for an outstanding performance of airmanship, for the operation of airborne systems or for the development of air navigation techniques and equipment. The X-45A is certainly a worthy and commendable example of the latter," said Paul J. Tacon, BA, FCIS, clerk of the Court.
The X-45A J-UCAS program, led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and Boeing, demonstrated the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of an unmanned air combat system.