LORAL HAS briefed the US Air Force, Army and Navy on its proposal for a heavy-lift, high-altitude, unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to be used as a sensor and weapons platform for cruise- and ballistic-missile defence.

The UAV, with a flyaway price of about $5 million, could be fielded in as little as 18 months from project inception, Loral says.

The Loral/Frontier Systems W570 flying-wing-concept vehicle has a 50m wingspan and a gross take-off weight of between 11,700kg and 13,800kg. It would be able to loiter at 80,000ft (24,400m), with up to 42h on station, fielding an unrefuelled range of 34,600km (18,700nm) and a total mission duration of 60h. The W570 would carry payloads of 4,540kg and heavier.

Loral proposes that the UAV be used for a range of missions, including cruise-missile defence and boost phase interception of tactical ballistic missiles.

If funding becomes available, Loral proposes that 24 General Electric engines, built in the 1980s for high-altitude UAVs and now in wind tunnel testing at NASA Ames, could be pressed into service as interim power plants.

Source: Flight International