AAI delivers Aerosonde and Orbiter UAS to the US Army

Show: Defexpo India 2012 - Day 1

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, has announced that it has delivered an Aerosonde Mark 4.7 small unmanned aircraft system and an orbiter miniature unmanned aircraft system to the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). The systems will support the five-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) into which the organisations recently entered, enabling AAI UAS and CERDEC to work together on various payloads for three classes of UAS - tactical, small and miniature, also known as Groups 3, 2 and 1.

AAI UAS and CERDEC’s Flight Activity, Lakehurst, completed a technical interchange meeting to review plans for payload integration onto the Aerosonde (Group 2) and Orbiter (Group 1) systems. Many payload varieties are being considered for integration, including signals intelligence, sensor and communications. AAI’s UAS flight crews conducted Aerosonde and Orbiter aircraft check flights prior to their delivery at Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst in New Jersey.

Upon CERDEC Flight Activity’s successful payload integration onto either aircraft, AAI UAS operators will take the lead on a capability demonstration flight. Till date, AAI UAS already has integrated more than two dozen payloads onto the Aerosonde UAS, including scientific, meteorological, electronic warfare, signals intelligence and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“Our experienced UAS operators understand both the aircraft and the unique characteristics of the mission based on each payload,” says AAI UAS Vice President, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Stephen Flach. “In research and development exercises like this one, the result is reliable, comprehensive performance data to improve the user’s end product.”

The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 is an expeditionary system featuring a large payload capacity and modular design. It is ideally suited to accommodate a multitude of payload options. The Orbiter miniature unmanned aircraft system uses electric power to deliver a minimal acoustic signature. It is being offered to various military and law enforcement customers through a teaming agreement between AAI and Israel-based Aeronautics Ltd. In addition, AAI’s renowned Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system, a Group 3-sized aircraft, is available to CERDEC through this CRADA. Together, the three classes of UAS can accommodate a large spectrum of mission profiles.