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Textron trials unmanned aircraft in first maritime flight

TEXTRON UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (UAS) TAKES FIRST MARITIME FLIGHT ABOARD USS MIGUEL KEITH . PHOTO: TEXTRON

Textron Systems Corporation has celebrated the first operational flight of the Aerosonde unmanned aircraft aboard the USS Miguel Keith mobile base.

Textron Systems Corporation has celebrated the first operational flight of the Aerosonde unmanned aircraft aboard the USS Miguel Keith mobile base.

The American industrial conglomerate announced the successful operational flight on 1 February.

An October 2022 contract was previously awarded to the Aerosonde development program by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to provide unmanned aviation support aboard the ship for up to five years.

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The Aerosonde UAS provides extended range intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services with enhanced mission payloads aboard the USS Hershel Williams and USS Miguel Keith.

The USS Miguel Keith generates a range of military and aviation operations as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force.

Textron air systems senior vice-president Wayne Prender said the UAS system is designed for expeditionary land and sea-based operations in austere environments and is equipped for multiple payload configurations.

“Having an unmanned aircraft system operational aboard the ship acting as a remote sensor contributes to overall maritime domain awareness and mission success,” Prender said.

“The Aerosonde system is providing added reach beyond the horizon and an ability to operate multi-INT ISR consistently, both great examples of the benefits of teaming unmanned aircraft with manned ships.”

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