Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV) will develop and build a hydrogen-powered
long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial systems for the US
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The $57 million contract
is calling for 'development and military utility assessment'
initiates a Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD)
sponsored by multiple other government organizations, Multiple
government organizations are sponsoring the JCTD program, reflecting
broad interest in its potential capabilities for military applications.
The contract includes options for the development and delivery
of two additional Global Observer aircraft and one more ground
station, resulting in a potential contract value of $108 million.
The work is scheduled to conclude by April 2011.
Under the contract AeroVironment will develop and build up
to three Global
Observer aircraft over the next three years to demonstrate
the ability to operate in the stratosphere for up to seven days
without landing. The program is intended to demonstrate the
tactical utility of a hydrogen-powered UAS for long duration
(five to seven day) missions at altitudes from 55,000 to 65,000
feet. A system consisting of two or three aircraft will provide
continuous ISR or communications relay over an area of interest.
Tim Conver, chairman and chief executive officer of AV Considers
the new platform to introduce a brand new value proposition
– affordable persistence in the stratosphere. “We
believe that Global Observer represents a game-changing new
capability for defense, homeland security and, ultimately, commercial
applications,” commented Conver. “We have developed
the unique sub-systems necessary to enable this new category