Two X-45A (Spiral 0) demonstrator air vehicles have been delivered to NASA’s Dryden facility at Edwards AFB; first flight occurred in May 2002. Design has started on the next generation X-45C (Spiral 1) air vehicle, which will add stealth characteristics; first flight is expected in late 2005. The Air Force has budgeted for up to 36 UCAV systems for delivery by 2010 for early operational capability and warfighter assessment. An effects-based spiral development approach is envisioned to rapidly field initial UCAV capability and expand that capability as technology and funding permit. [p. 11]
Following is a series of short synopses of other UAV vehicles or programs that are addressed in the committee’s conclusions and recommendations. The descriptions are excerpted from the DOD Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Roadmap 2002-2027.
In addition to its involvement in three UCAV/UCAR demonstration programs, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently sponsoring five other innovative UAV designs. The Advanced Air Vehicle (AAV) program is developing two unmanned rotorcraft projects, the Boeing X-50 Dragonfly Canard Rotor Wing (CRW) and the Frontier A160 Hummingbird. The attributes being explored under the AAV program are speed, altitude, and endurance. The goal is to substantially improve the performance of rotorcraft to