$50M for A-160 Hummingbird UAV Concept Demonstrators

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A-160 Hummingbird Boeing Co. subsidiary Frontier Systems Inc. in Irvine, CA received a $50 million ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) of the A-160 Hummingbird Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to assess its military utility and affordability. The A-160 Hummingbird Warrior is a full-size VTOL UAV that has demonstrated the potential for performance comparable to fixed-wing aircraft with high payload, high altitude, and long duration capabilities, all the while maintaining the utility of a helicopter… The A-160 will exploit a hingeless, rigid rotor concept operating at the optimum rotational speed at all times. As their name implies, optimum-speed rotors vary their speed as a function of the aircraft’s gross weight and speed to maintain overall efficiency; Boeing acquired the technology when it bought Abe Karem’s Frontier systems. It is hoped that the A-160’s optimum-speed rotor technology will produce a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with low disk loading and rotor tip speeds, resulting in an efficient low-power loiter and high-endurance system. Indeed, its proponents believe that the A-160 program offers the potential for significant increases in VTOL UAV range (more than 2,000 nm) and/or endurance (24-48 hours). […]

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