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Textron to Deploy Aerosonde Drones on Three More US Navy Ships

The US Navy has contracted Textron Systems to deploy its Aerosonde unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on three littoral combat ships (LCS).

The $19.5-million contract will support the deployment on two Independence-class LCS and one Freedom-class LCS variants.

Aerosonde has already been deployed on two Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB-4 and ESB-5) and two DDG-class ships.

Deployment Goals

The deployment will provide mission overwatch and extended intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

“Contractor-owned/contractor-operated contracts like this support the Navy’s continued investments in uncrewed assets for their ships,” Textron senior vice president Wayne Prender said

“We’ve seen the benefits of our Aerosonde UAS for DDG and ESB-class ships already, and we’re honored to be expanding into this new ship class, allowing us to continue supporting maritime domain awareness and missions while delivering operational and logistical capabilities.” 

Drone Features

The small UAS has been designed for expeditionary land and sea-based operations, featuring negligible visual and aural signatures for covert operations.

The 80-pound (36.4 kilogram) drone carries a 20-pound (9 kilogram) payload supporting missions such as electronic warfare and communications relay.

The platform’s range is 140 kilometers (87 miles), with an endurance of over 14 hours.

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