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AAI Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Complete a Successful Simultaneous Flight Demonstration
Textron Systems’ unmanned Aerosonde Mark 4-Series aircraft executes fully autonomous flight in simultaneous operation two additional Orbiter unmanned aircraft.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed May 18, 2009

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AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced 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.

About AAI
AAI Corporation designs, produces, and supports aerospace and defense systems through its direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries, AAI Services Corporation, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, ESL Defence Limited, and Symtx, Inc. Its high-technology products and services include unmanned aircraft systems, training and simulation systems, automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment, armament systems, aviation ground support equipment, and logistical, engineering, and supply chain services. AAI Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. More information is available at

About Textron Systems
Textron Systems Corporation has been providing innovative solutions to the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for more than 50 years. Known for its unmanned aircraft systems, advanced marine craft, armored vehicles, intelligent battlefield and surveillance systems, intelligence software solutions, precision smart weapons, piston engines, test and training systems, and total life cycle sustainment services, Textron Systems includes AAI Corporation, Lycoming Engines, Overwatch Geospatial Systems, Overwatch Tactical Operations, Textron Defense Systems, and Textron Marine & Land Systems. Textron Systems Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. More information is available at

About Textron
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at

Aerosonde® is a registered trademark of Aerosonde Pty Ltd.

One System® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Army.

Orbiter™ is a trademark of Aeronautics Ltd.

Doug Wilburne
P:  401-457-2288

Bill Pitts
P:  401-457-2288

Sharon Corona
Textron Systems
P:  410-628-3184

Karen Gordon Quintal
P:  401-457-2362

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