Advanced and Unmanned Aircraft

Proven Development from Idea to Flight

Designing, building, and flying advanced aircraft is at the heart of Aurora Flight Sciences. Here, our breadth of expertise across engineering, rapid prototyping, manufacturing, and flight operations comes together to bring cutting-edge aircraft from idea to flight.

Centaur Optionally Piloted Aircraft

Centaur is an optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) system that combines the best of piloted, remotely piloted, and hybrid capabilities in a highly reliable and cost-effective aircraft. Centaur has been flying in the national airspace since 2015. It has completed several successful scientific missions, and it has conducted testing of various technologies necessary for unmanned operations. Centaur has also been delivered to international customers.

Small and Counter-UAS

Aurora’s small UAS product line includes MIDAS, a low-collateral effects sUAS interceptor; Red Team, multi-rotor and fixed-wing aerial targets; and SKIRON-X, a fixed-wing eVTOL for long-duration ISR missions. All offer autonomous functionality and are less than 55 lbs. for ease of operations. Aurora’s sUAS line-up is flexible and rapidly evolving to meet our customers’ needs.

X- and Y-Planes

Aurora has a long history of designing, building, and flying experimental and prototype aircraft. SunLight Eagle completed the first solar-powered UAS flights in the national airspace in 2009, and Orion set the world record for the longest flight duration for a remotely controlled UAV in 2014. In 2019, we flew our first unmanned eVTOL passenger air vehicle. Today, our work continues with programs such as NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstrator and DARPA’s CRANE program.

Novel Aircraft

Aurora creates novel aircraft that help our customers open new markets and create new experiences. We can engineer advanced aircraft from scratch, including every facet of vehicle design and operation. We can also bring existing concepts to fruition, adding the engineering, testing, and manufacturing know-how needed to succeed. Current programs include Wisk’s autonomous air taxi and Virgin Galactic’s next generation motherships.

Making an Air Vehicle

Bringing an aircraft from idea to flight takes an agile, multi-faceted team that comes together to solve problems and explore new solutions. Aurora’s vehicle program teams cut across the company and give engineers the opportunity to personally see their work take flight.

Flight Physics and Structural Engineering

Propulsion, Electronic Systems, and Power

Software and Autonomy

Systems Engineering and Integration

Rapid Prototyping and Advanced Manufacturing

System Testing & Flight Operations

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