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Athena Technologies Provides Flight Controls for Textron Defense Systems’ Guided Payload Dispenser
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Apr 19, 2007
More Security and Defense stories
Athena Technologies announced today that the Athena GuideStar™ successfully navigated and controlled the first drop of Textron Defense Systems’ Universal Aerial Delivery Dispenser (U-ADD) during the USAF UAV Battlelab’s Guided Dispenser Tube Initiative. The U-ADD was dropped from a UAV on 15 October 2006 at the Ft. Huachuca Army test facility in Arizona.

During the drop, the GuideStar controlled the U-ADD providing stabilization of the vehicle in pitch, yaw and roll, and mapped the flight trajectory to a designated set of coordinates for payload deployment. Upon reaching the designated delivery latitude, longitude and altitude position, the GuideStar commanded the payload ejection system to eject an inert 64-lb BLU-108 Sensor Fuzed submunition. The inert BLU-108 deployed its drogue and main parachute as intended over the target area.

The U-ADD from Textron Defense Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, is a unique multi-purpose dispenser that greatly expands the mission capability and flexibility of military UAVs by enabling the same unmanned aircraft to carry a variety of different payload types at different times. Specifically, the U-ADD is a guided dispenser that can precisely deploy various types of air delivered, lethal, non-lethal and cargo payloads from high altitudes. Its mission flexible payload bay allows it to carry and deploy various payloads such as smart munitions, unattended ground sensors, PSYOPS leaflets, medical kits and supplies.

As part of a first phase program, Athena provided guidance and control of the U-ADD with its GuideStar 111m – a miniaturized (0.5 pound) integrated flight control and navigation software and hardware solution. GuideStar has more than 100,000 hours of operational performance in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“The first drop of our U-ADD marks a major milestone for Textron Defense Systems,” said Tom McNamara, Textron Defense Systems’ senior vice president for their Advanced Solutions Center. “Being able to reliably provide various types of payload delivered via a UAV enables the war fighter to operate with a level of flexibility in mission planning that is unprecedented. We are also very pleased with the U-ADD team across the various companies, who made the U-ADD flight demonstration program a success.”

“The first successful drop of the U-ADD is a major accomplishment for both Textron Defense Systems and Athena Technologies,” said Dr. David Vos, Athena’s CEO. “We are proud of our GuideStar’s ability to guide and navigate the U-ADD system to a designated target area and deploy its payload. Being able to contribute to the success of the U-ADD flight demonstration program is very exciting for our team.”

A U-ADD Product Improvement activity will be ongoing starting in 2007 with the US Air Force’s UAV Battlelab, Creech AFB, NV.

About Textron Systems
Textron Systems Corporation (“Textron Systems”) provides innovative technology solutions to meet the needs of the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities. The company is known for its precision smart weapons, surveillance systems, complex intelligence and communications systems, aircraft control components, piston engines, specialty marine craft and armored vehicles. Textron Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avco Corporation. Avco Corporation is s wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. More information is available at

About Athena Technologies
Athena Technologies is a premier developer and producer of navigation and control systems. Founded in 1998, the company produces the GuideStar™ family of versatile, compact and cost-effective flight control systems for applications such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), target drones and missiles. The company is an independent, privately held firm with headquarters in Northern Virginia. Additional information is available at

Maureen Stevens
Athena Technologies
P: (540) 878-2251

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