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General Atomics, Aurora Receive DARPA Awards for Continued Lifter Seaplane Development

Aurora Flight Sciences and General Atomics‘ aeronautical systems business will continue working on a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program aimed at developing a lifter seaplane demonstrator.

The Department of Defense said Thursday Aurora received a $19.5 million contract modification while General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. secured a $21.5 million award for the first option on the Liberty Lifter program.

In February, DARPA named two teams– GA-ASI and Maritime Applied Physics Corp.; and Aurora, Gibbs & Cox and ReconCraft– to support the aircraft’s first stage of development. The first six months of Phase I work was focused on conceptual design. Design maturation and preliminary design review will happen in the next nine months, with other efforts scheduled for three months following it.

The group including Aurora will work mostly in Virginia and Oregon, while the GA-ASI team will perform contract requirements in Poway, California. Both are expected to complete work in July 2024.

DARPA initiated the program to develop a full-scale, wing-in-ground lifter seaplane capable of speedy transportation of large payloads over sustained flight conditions.

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