By Marina Malenic

Boeing [BA] has won an $89.3 million contract over Lockheed Martin [LMT] to work on the second development phase of a light, unmanned aircraft that can stay aloft for at least five years without stopping to refuel, the Defense Department said last week.

The work on the Vulture is being undertake by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The program is designed to produce a high-altitude surveillance aircraft with characteristics of a satellite, including flying under its own power while carrying up to 1,000 pounds of equipment. The agency said in a statement that key attributes are to include solar energy collection, energy storage and retrieval, aeroelastics and flight control of large, flexible aircraft structures.

Work will be performed in St. Louis, Seattle and Arlington, Va. It is expected to be finished in February 2014. Under the terms of the contract, the first objective will be to prove 32 days of flight in 2014. Boeing is expected to provide a “near full-scale” demonstrator at that time, according to DARPA.

Boeing is teamed with Qinetiq. Its vehicle is called the Solar Eagle and will use solar and fuel cell technologies from Qinetiq.

“The Vulture technology offers a revolutionary capability of affordable, persistent airborne operation that shatters some fundamental aviation and space paradigms,” DARPA Program Manager Daniel Newman said in a press statement. “It is applicable to a wide range of current missions and applications, and offers new opportunities for tomorrow’s requirements.”