HUNT VALLEY, MD -- AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announces that it has flown three of its small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) simultaneously at the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range. This demonstration with Flint Hills Solutions LLC took place in conjunction with the 2009 Kansas Unmanned Systems Symposium.
AAI's Aerosonde Mark 4-series aircraft completed a fully autonomous flight from takeoff to landing, operating at 4,500 feet using an electro-optic (EO) payload. Spectators were able to view real-time data from the Aerosonde aircraft using AAI's One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT), which is in service currently with the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The OSRVT is one of AAI's unmanned aircraft system (UAS) networked and interoperable ground control technologies. The Aerosonde system also utilized the commercial version of AAI's One System-compatible Expeditionary Ground Control Station during the flight demonstration to control and operate the aircraft.
Using a layered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) approach, AAI also launched two lightweight, electric Orbiter aircraft into simultaneous operation with the Aerosonde aircraft. One Orbiter miniature UAS flew at 1,500 feet utilizing an EO payload, while another Orbiter aircraft flew at 1,000 feet with an infrared, or IR, payload.
AAI's fleet of Mark 4-series SUAS is ideal for covert and long-endurance ISR applications. This fleet includes the newest in the Aerosonde Mark 4 series of SUAS, the Mark 4.7, which combines a low acoustic signature with launch and recovery flexibility suitable for the rigors of maritime and confined-area missions.
"This successful demonstration in Kansas highlights the flexibility of our small unmanned aircraft,”"says Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. "The Aerosonde and Orbiter SUAS deliver robust performance and multi-mission capability, as well as the ease-of-use demonstrated by this flight's autonomous takeoff and landing. Within our fleet of SUAS are systems that can meet any mission requirement."
AAI announced in September 2008 that it had teamed with Israel-based Aeronautics Ltd., designer of the Orbiter system, to market the product. Aeronautics specializes in comprehensive defense solutions and the development, manufacture, and operation of unmanned platforms.