AAI to research UAS payloads with US Army CERDEC
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that it has entered into a five-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Communications-Electronic Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). The CRADA enables AAI UAS and CERDEC to work together on various payloads for three classes of UAS — tactical, small and miniature, also known as Groups 1, 2 and 3.
Under the agreement, CERDEC and AAI engineers will explore whether various CERDEC payload concepts can be integrated onto AAI-provided UAS. During phase 1 of the CRADA, AAI will provide CERDEC an Aerosonde® Mark 4.7 aircraft for payload development meeting the aircraft’s specifications. Upon successful payload integration, AAI’s experienced UAS operators will fly the aircraft for capabilities demonstration.
“AAI has decades of experience designing, manufacturing, operating and supporting UAS, and we bring this collective knowledge to the Army’s CERDEC with this CRADA,” says Vice President, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steve Flach. “Our combined CERDEC/AAI UAS team promises a productive and successful collaboration.”
The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 Small Unmanned Aircraft System is a highly expeditionary system that can be used for shipboard or ground-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The system’s large payload capacity, modular design and open architecture make it ideally suited for CERDEC’s efforts. Other UAS platforms available to CERDEC are AAI’s renowned Shadow® Tactical UAS, which recently surpassed 635,000 total flight hours in service with customers including the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, and the electric Orbiter™ Miniature UAS, being offered to various military and law enforcement customers through a teaming agreement between AAI and Israel-based Aeronautics Ltd. Together, the three classes of UAS can help users address the spectrum of mission requirements and tactical environments.
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