Orion Takes Flight

Aurora Flight Sciences’ Orion remotely piloted aircraft recently completed its first flight, announced the company. The test of the long-endurance RPA took place on a range in the western United States on Aug. 24, states the company’s Sept. 17 release. During the three-and-a-half-hour flight, Orion reached a maximum altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level, according to the company. The company is developing Orion under Air Force sponsorship as part of a Defense Department joint capability technology demonstration. The long-endurance RPA is designed for information-gathering and communications-relay roles. Orion will be able to fly for five days with a 1,000-pound payload at 20,000 feet in altitude, according to the company’s website. It can also carry munitions on its wing hardpoints.