AAI unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has delivered two unmanned aircraft to the U.S. Army that the military is going to study to determine payloads capabilities for each.
The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 small unmanned aerial system and Orbiter miniature UAS is to support a five-year cooperative research-and-development agreement between the company and the Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) to test various payloads for three classes of UAS, tactical, small and miniature, also known as Groups 3, 2 and 1.
AAI and CERDEC's Flight Activity, Lakehurst, N.J., completed a technical interchange meeting to review plans for payload integration onto the Aerosonde (Group 2) and Orbiter (Group 1) systems. Many payload varieties are being considered for integration, including signals intelligence, sensor and communications, according to AAI.
AAI’s UAS flight crews conducted Aerosonde and Orbiter aircraft check flights prior to delivery at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. After CERDEC Flight Activity's successful payload integration onto either aircraft, AAI UAS operators will take the lead on a capability demonstration flight.
AAI UAS has integrated more than two dozen payloads onto the Aerosonde UAS, including scientific, meteorological, electronic warfare, signals intelligence and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the firm says.
“Our experienced UAS operators understand both the aircraft and the unique characteristics of the mission based on each payload,” said Stephen Flach, AAI UAS vice president of small unmanned aircraft systems. “In research-and-development exercises like this one, the result is reliable, comprehensive performance data to improve the user's end product,” he said.