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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Boeing an additional US$175 million to continue the X-45C portion of the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) Capability Demonstration Program, adding a full demonstration of a new Autonomous Aerial Refueling technology and culminating in an in-flight X-45C refueling by a KC-135 tanker in 2010. By adding autonomous refuelling to the X-45’s already scary capabilities , the United States will be able to provide “an even longer sustained, lethal presence in hostile airspace holding enemy forces open to immediate surveillance or destruction."
The first X-45C will be completed in 2006, with flight-testing scheduled to begin in 2007. Since Boeing began the J-UCAS Advanced Technology Demonstration Program, two X-45A's have flown 55 test missions at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.