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The Navy last week awarded contracts to the four companies maturing their respective remotely piloted aircraft designs under the service's Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system program. Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman each received a $15 million firm, fixed-price contract to advance their designs through a preliminary design review, according to the Pentagon’s list of major contracts on Aug. 14. The period of performance for this work is approximately nine months, out to June 2014, according to the Navy's Aug. 15 release. "The PDRs are intended to inform the Navy of technical risk, cost, and design maturity of the air segment, and allow the industry teams to better understand the program's requirements across the entire UCLASS system to expeditiously deliver the unmanned carrier-based system to the fleet," said Charlie Nava, the sea service's UCLASS program manager. The Navy wants UCLASS to provide "a responsive, worldwide presence" with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance as well as strike capabilities. (See also Sentinel, Feet Wet?)