Textron Systems has received a contract to provide uncrewed aerial system (UAS) operation support for the US Navy’s Lewis B Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5).

Estimated to be approximately $22m, this contract has been awarded by the US Naval Air Systems Command.

It will have a total performance period of five years, beginning from fiscal year (FY) 2023.

The contract involves the deployment of Textron ’s Aerosonde UAS with the US Navy’s ESB.

Aerosonde’s deployment will provide extended-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services to the enhanced mission payloads aboard the ship.

In addition, Textron will deploy its field service representatives to work together with the Navy personnel to support various maritime missions.

Textron Air Systems senior vice-president Wayne Prender said: “There are numerous vessels of opportunity with Navy that can benefit from consistent multi-INT ISR.

“Through this fee-for-service contract, the Navy can continue to mature future shipboard ISR requirements while supporting existing real-world missions.

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

The Aerosonde UAS system is currently deployed with a total of four US Navy vessels, including two Arleigh Burke-class (DDG) destroyers.

Miguel Keith is the second US Navy ESB vessel to receive UAS operational support from Textron.

The company is also under four-year contract to support the US Navy’s USS Hershel Williams (ESB-4).

Textron’s Aerosonde autonomous system has been designed for carrying out expeditionary land and sea-based operations in contested environments.

It has accumulated over 585,000 flight hours serving various US allied and partner nations.