Raytheon bought drone-related technical services from the University of Arizona for $5,000, according to documents released after a public records request. Its statement of work stipulates developing a tactical unmanned aerial vehicle for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions capable of flying six hours with a maximum height of 10,000 feet.
Recreational drones are limited by FAA regulation to 400 feet high.
The University has a history of supporting drone research and development through its Aeronautical Robotics Club and engineering schools, which have received sponsorship from Raytheon and other contractors such as BAE Systems and Boeing.
Arizona has recently gained media attention as ground zero for drone use domestically. Given its border-state status and desert conditions, Gov. Jan Brewer touts Arizona as perfectly suited for developing and testing drone technology.
MuckRock filed FOIA requests at two universities and one city known to be working with military contractors on drone projects. So far, only this five-page purchase order from the University of Arizona has been released.
Image base is a Firebee Drone in the public domain through NASA