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Thu, May 15, 2003

Boeing, Predator Parent in New Deal

General Atomics to Help Update Systems

Boeing and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow the two companies to discuss cooperation in the areas of unmanned systems, network-centric operations and other large-scale systems integration efforts.

The initial area of cooperation under the MOU will involve integrating the command and control architecture for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' Predator unmanned aircraft system into both the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the AH-64 Apache helicopter platforms. The ultimate goal is to "fuse" the disparate systems, and in turn increase connectivity and interoperability between manned and unmanned aircraft.

"Unmanned systems and network-centric operations, are extremely important to the transformation of the military," said Mike Heinz, Boeing vice president and general manager, deputy of Integrated Defense Advanced Systems (IDeAS). "We plan to rapidly develop and provide new technologies and system-of-system solutions to our customers that will meet their evolving needs with currently fielded and developing systems, and lead to major increases in operational effectiveness."

"This MOU constitutes a step forward in strategic planning, allowing each company a vehicle through which to communicate on potential business opportunities," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president and chief executive officer of General Atomics. "Establishing a working relationship with Boeing and other leading companies could have significant benefits for the customer, which is our ultimate goal. Interoperability between manned and unmanned systems will be key to making network centric a successful concept for the military."

Boeing and General Atomics will also consider working together to identify, develop and capture other specific new business opportunities. The agreement also allows the companies to share relevant business development strategies and information to help anticipate evolving customer needs.

FMI: www.boeing.com; www.gat.com

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