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Textron’s Aerosonde Achieves Maiden Flight Aboard USS Savannah Littoral Combat Ship

Textron’s Aerosonde drone has completed its first deployment from the US Navy’s Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Savannah (LCS 28).

The Aerosonde was developed to support maritime security, forward presence, sea control, and extended intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

It is designed to carry specific payloads required by users, including full motion cameras, electronic warfare, radar, three-dimensional mapping, voice communications relay, and networking capabilities.

The aircraft can be powered by different heavy-fuel engines to achieve 65 knots (120 kilometers/75 miles per hour) and an altitude of 18,200 feet (5,500 meters).

Recent Aerosonde Deployments

Textron wrote that the Savannah is the fifth Independence ship and the seventh naval platform that the Aerosonde was selected to support.

Last year, the Rhode Island company received a contract to deploy the Aerosonde system on three US Navy littoral combat ships.

The $19.5-million effort will integrate the drone into two Independence-class vessels and a single Freedom-class variant.

Similar projects have also been signed with Textron in the past for the navy’s expeditionary mobile bases as well as guided missile destroyers.

“Teaming an uncrewed Aircraft System with a crewed ship is a force multiplier for the ship’s existing mission sets, which we’ve seen with our Aerosonde [unmanned aircraft system] operating from [Guided-Missile Destroyers] and [Expeditionary Transfer Dock]–class ships,” Textron Air Systems SVP Wayne Prender said.

“The expansion of the Aerosonde system’s services onto the LCS extends the capability of the various mission packages employed by the ship.”

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