Boeing expands UAV business

Boeing announced yesterday that it has acquired Frontier Systems, developer of the A-160 Hummingbird and Maverick unmanned aerial vehicles. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Boeing announced yesterday that it has acquired Frontier Systems, developer of the A-160 Hummingbird and Maverick unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

According to a statement, Frontier’s platforms and technologies add to Boeing’s portfolio and capabilities in unmanned systems that include the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System X-45, ScanEagle and other concepts under development. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

The privately held Frontier Systems has about 70 employees and was formed in 1991. Frontier is based in Irvine, California, and also has operations in Victorville, California, for flight-test operations.

“For years we’ve been looking for the right company to take Frontier’s programs into production,” said Gale Kerem, Frontier Systems executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Boeing provides the perfect complement of people and technology for further developing and producing the Hummingbird and making it even more versatile and effective for a wide variety of domestic and international markets.”

The A-160 Hummingbird, a vertical take-off-and-landing UAV, has been designed to fly over 2,500 nautical miles for up to 40 hours. Its modular payload design can carry up to 1,000 pounds for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, communication relay, precision re-supply, sensor delivery and precision attack operations.

The A-160’s characteristics are said to address current and emerging requirements of the US armed forces, Department of Homeland Security, and international military and security organisations. Frontier also sells the Maverick UAV, a retrofitted commercially available helicopter, to the US Special Operations Command.

Boeing Phantom Works will complete development of the Hummingbird and then transfer the program to Boeing Integrated Defence Systems (IDS). Phantom Works recently transferred the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System X-45 program to IDS.