Textron Systems Corporation, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., has announced the inaugural flight of the Aerosonde Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) from its first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), LCS-28 USS Savannah.
Textron Systems was awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command Center (NAVAIR) in June to provide UAS operational support for one Freedom Class and two Independence Class LCS variants.
The Aerosonde UAS is poised to play a crucial role in supporting LCS missions, including forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence. It will provide overwatch and extended intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services with enhanced payloads. This marks the fifth class and seventh total ship for which the Aerosonde system has been contracted to provide support.
Wayne Prender, Senior Vice President of Air Systems, highlighted the significance of integrating an Uncrewed Aircraft System with a crewed ship, emphasizing its role as a force multiplier for the ship’s existing mission sets. The expansion of the Aerosonde system’s services onto the LCS platform enhances the capability of the various mission packages utilized by the ship.
The Aerosonde UAS boasts a multi-mission capability built upon a family of systems with a remarkable track record, accumulating over 650,000 flight hours over more than a decade. It is equipped for multiple payload configurations and offers both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and fixed-wing options, making it a versatile asset for naval operations.