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About Aurora Flight Sciences Corp

Pilots? For most of its aircraft, Aurora Flight Sciences doesn't need pilots (at least not ones who sit in a cockpit of a plane). The company makes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, aka drones),  and composite structures for aircraft with both military and scientific applications. A major project has been developing planes that can take off and land vertically. It also provides flight operations and testing services for a variety of aircraft. Customers have included include major aerospace contractors, such as Raytheon and US government agencies. The Boeing Co. bought Aurora Flight Sciences in 2017.

Change in Company Type

Boeing bought Aurora Flight Systems in 2017. Terms were not disclosed. Aurora operates as a subsidiary under Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology. It maintained independent operation as a subsidiary, but gets access to Boeing's resources as the leading aerospace company. The deal gives Boeing an immediate lift in drones and vertical take off and landing vehicles.

Geographic Reach

Aurora Flight Sciences operates from facilities in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Virginia, and West Virginia.


Aurora Flight Sciences is poised to benefit from military interest in unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV). The US Department of Defense doubled its drone budget to about $7 billion in 2018.

One area of investment from the military is in vertical take-off and landing craft(VTOLs). Aurora Flight Sciences is a leader in VTOL technology, including an aircraft powered by electricity. NASA tapped the company to evaluate an electric airliner design, the Single-aisle Turboelectric Aircraft with Aft Boundary Layer propulsion (STARC-ABL) aircraft concept. The company is also developing the LightningStrike XV-24A VTOL craft, an autonomous military aircraft funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force.

For the long haul, the Orion program is in development for the US Air Force to provide an affordable, five-day endurance, Multi-Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance platform for the changing global security environment. Orion will be capable of flying with 1,000 lbs of payload at 20,000 ft. for 120 hours.

Aurora is also combining its unmanned expertise with more traditional aircraft navigation. The company has been testing its Centaur Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA). The OPA can be flown by a pilot or as an unmanned aircraft.

In perhaps its most visible unmanned project, Aurora is a partner with Uber Technologies in developing flying taxis.

Company Background

Company president John Langford founded Aurora Flight Sciences in 1989.

Aurora Flight Sciences Corp

9950 Wakeman Dr
Manassas, VA 20110-2702
Phone: 1 (703) 369-3633

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
President and COO: Mark C. Cherry
VP, UAS and CTO: Tom Clancy
Chairman and CEO: John S. Langford
Employees (This Location): 140
Employees (All Locations): 550

Major Office Locations

Manassas, VA

Other Locations

Cambridge, MA
Columbus, MS