AAI Conducts Successful Shipboard Trials of the Aerosonde(R) Mark 4.7 Small Unmanned Aircraft System

January 14, 2010
Flights Demonstrate Multi-Mission Capability and TRL 7 Launch and Recovery Maturity
HUNT VALLEY, Md., Jan 14, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that its Aerosonde Mark 4.7 small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) successfully completed a week of flight operations aboard the Office of the Secretary of Defense's M-80 Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Test Bed. AAI conducted a series of Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS flight tests at sea, concluding with multiple successful launches and recoveries aboard the Stiletto vessel.

The Stiletto shipboard trials established AAI's unique, integrated launch and recovery system at technology readiness level (TRL) 7 during multiple successful aircraft recoveries in a maritime operational environment. The shipboard Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS includes the integrated launch and recovery system; the Mark 4.7 aircraft with enhanced, leading-edge wings; on-the-move navigation; automatic takeoff and landing capability; and shipboard integration to the command and control center. AAI's integrated, one-piece launch and recovery system easily fits aboard small ships without necessitating shipboard alterations.

In fact, the Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS has a streamlined, expeditionary footprint that requires a minimum crew and amount of equipment overall. The Aerosonde Mark 4.7, AAI's entry for the joint U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS)/Tier II competition, was designed to operate from confined areas on land and at sea. The system delivers unsurpassed multi-mission capability to meet warfighter requirements. A single Aerosonde Mark 4.7 aircraft provides both long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance using its combined electro-optic/infrared payload, as well as simultaneous beyond-line-of-sight communications relay.

"Our Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS delivers powerful benefits for the maritime services including long endurance and unmatched multiple-payload flexibility with superior video and communication relay capabilities," says AAI Division Vice President, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Stephen Flach. "In addition, its single-piece launch and recovery system enables the aircraft to execute missions from even the smallest ships."

"We have been able to leverage our years of experience designing, manufacturing, fielding, operating and supporting unmanned aircraft systems to develop a highly adaptive system suitable for multiple mission profiles," says AAI Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. "Our Aerosonde Mark 4.7 SUAS provides immense capability with the logistical and operational flexibility of an expeditionary footprint."

About AAI

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

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, 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 www.textronsystems.com.

About Textron Inc.

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 www.textron.com.

AAI is a registered trademark of AAI Corporation.

Aerosonde is a registered trademark of Aerosonde Pty Ltd.

SOURCE: Textron Inc.

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