AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif., said U.S. government agencies funding the Global Observer Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program have exercised an option for the assembly of a third Global Observer aircraft and additional items. There have been six contract options exercised since the program was initiated, representing a value of more than $120 million in program funding. The Global Observer UAV is designed to become the first operational configuration able to provide stratospheric global persistence with no latitude restrictions, according to the company. The aircraft can take off from and land on a runway, and will have a payload capacity of about 400 pounds. A system consisting of two or more Global Observer aircraft flying sequentially would provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications.