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Textron Systems’ Aerosonde® small unmanned aircraft system takes first flight from U.S. Navy destroyer

Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. company, announced yesterday the successful first flight and maritime integration of the Aerosonde® Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) on a U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG).  

The integration follows a September 2021 award by the U.S. Navy of a multi-year Aerosonde task order for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services aboard two DDGs. The success of this first flight emphasizes the system’s ability to offer a mature, reliable aircraft to support the types of ship-based missions being performed now, all within a small aviation footprint in a higher sea state environment.

Built with maritime missions in mind, the Aerosonde platform offers multi-mission capability and, with over 550,000 flight hours, proven reliability and performance. Integrated into the ship’s combat systems, the Aerosonde is equipped to deliver day/night full-motion video, wide area surveillance, communications relay, signals intelligence and more. The expeditionary platform is powered by a heavy fuel engine and is capable of point takeoff and landing, minimizing impact to the ship’s operations.

“This flight for Aerosonde represents the expansion of the platform’s real-world maritime mission. Already operating on the expeditionary sea base ship USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4), we are excited to see Unmanned Systems contribute to the Navy’s critical missions across the globe, the system’s long endurance capabilities make it an ideal platform for maritime ISR operations; search and rescue; and many other missions providing the U.S. Navy with enhanced real-time situational awareness at any time, anywhere.”

Wayne Prender, Senior Vice President of Air Systems.

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