Business & GA, Commercial, Military

Aurora’s Orion Sets UAV Flight Record

By Juliet Van Wagenen | July 16, 2015
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[Avionics Today 07-16-2015] Aurora Flight Sciences received official notification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) on July 1 that its Orion aircraft set the world record for duration of flight for a remotely controlled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The unmanned aircraft flew an 80-hour, 2-minute and 52-second flight last December, earning the award for longest flight duration for a UAV. The previous record for the same class of unmanned aircraft was just over 30 hours, set by a Global Hawk in 2001. The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is also recognizing the flight as one of the most memorable aviation milestones of 2014.

Aurora's Orion unmanned aircraft lands after breaking the UAV world flight endurance record
Aurora’s Orion unmanned aircraft lands after breaking the UAV world flight endurance record. Photo: Aurora

The aircraft rises to meet growing demand from U.S. national security leaders for long-endurance Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in an unmanned aircraft.

“The U.S. military put the challenge to Aurora to develop a long-endurance unmanned system that far exceeded the capabilities of existing technologies. Obviously, when taxpayer dollars are invested, the goal is not only to see if a long-endurance flight can be achieved, but to ultimately deploy the system in support of the American warfighter,” said John Langford, chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences. “We met and exceeded our customer’s requirements for the aircraft. The most important recognition for Orion will come when the aircraft is put to work meeting exactly what U.S. warfighter is calling for — unmanned, persistent surveillance of our enemies.”

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