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Textron’s Aerosonde Drone to Support USS Miguel Keith Missions

The US Navy has awarded Textron Systems a $22-million contract to deploy its Aerosonde unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in support of the USS Miguel Keith’s maritime missions.

The five-year contract guarantees the US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB-5) vessel enhanced operational support through Aerosonde’s extended range intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (IRS) services.

Textron will also send select company representatives to work with the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command crew for additional mission support.

“Through this fee-for-service contract, the Navy can continue to mature future shipboard ISR requirements while supporting existing real-world missions,” Textron Senior Vice President Wayne Prender said.

“We are already seeing the benefits for DDG and ESB-class ships, and we continue to optimize our services to deliver the unique operational and logistical capabilities our customers demand in order to accomplish their mission and keep our sailors safe.”

The company is expected to begin operations aboard the USS Miguel Keith in 2023.

Continued Partnership

The USS Miguel Keith is the fourth US Navy ship to obtain Aerosonde UAS support from Textron.

The company was selected to provide operational assistance for the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams in 2018 and was granted an additional $18.3-million contract for continued support in June this year.

Textron said it has also enhanced the maritime missions of two undisclosed guided missile destroyers.

USS Miguel Keith

The USS Miguel Keith was the third ESB ship commissioned in the US Navy in May 2021.

Expeditionary Sea Base ships are highly flexible platforms known for critical logistics movement from sea to shore to bolster the US Navy’s broad range of military operations.

“The ESBs, which include a four spot flight deck, mission deck and hangar, are designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets,” the US Navy said.

The other ships in this class are the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), USS John L. Canley (ESB 6), and USS Robert E. Simanek (ESB 7).

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