USAF Awarded Exosonic Contract to Develop Supersonic UAV
Low boom supersonic transport company announced a Direct to Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract award from the USAF. The contract will fund the development of a low boom supersonic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstrator.
The aircraft, intended to aid the USAF in its pilot training mission, will demonstrate technologies directly relevant to Exosonic’s quiet supersonic airliner and build a short-term path to revenue. The company plans to reinvest the profits from UAV sales to fund future supersonic product developments, such as the airliner.
The aircraft will aid the pilot training mission by serving as a near-peer opponent fighter, challenging fighter pilots in real flight training. Due to restricted training funds and a pilot scarcity, only a small percentage of pilots receive enough live air training to equip them to face near-peer opponents. Exosonic’s supersonic UAV will serve as a simulated opponent to stress fighter pilots and will be equipped with various payloads and sensors, allowing training at a tenth of the expense of present live air training options.
“The supersonic UAV work is critical to our company’s strategy due to how much we’ll learn about designing, manufacturing, and maintaining supersonic airplanes with our first UAV products. The UAV is also important to our company’s longevity. It will provide profits that we can funnel back into our company and give investors, suppliers, and customers confidence that we can deliver supersonic aircraft to the market before anyone needs to make a multi-billion-dollar investment,” commented Exosonic CEO Norris Tie.
In addition to working with the USAF, Exosonic is working with government contractors, such as Tactical Air Support, to understand how pilot training can be improved. Jim DiMatteo, Director of Communications and F-5 ADAIR pilot, said, “Tactical Air Support is excited to see an emerging supersonic UAV platform that can operate jointly with a piloted contract adversary like the Tactical Air Support F-5 Advanced TIGER. These expanded capabilities will significantly enhance the DoD Blue forces training at a reduced cost.”
Exosonic is an aerospace company developing the world’s first low boom, quiet supersonic passenger airliner using shaped sonic boom technology. The company has partnered last year with the U.S. Air Force's Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate (PE) to develop a supersonic executive transport. Exosonic’s aircraft can provide top US leaders and diplomats rapid transportation around the world to meet with world leaders or react to developing situations on the ground.