Textron Systems Corporation achieves a milestone as the Aerosonde uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) embarks on its inaugural mission from the LCS-28 USS Savannah, ushering in maritime support and versatility.

Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. company, announces the successful operational deployment of its Aerosonde UAS from the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the USS Savannah.

Nurettin Sevi, aerospace and defence analyst at GlobalData, emphasises the importance of UAVs in extending naval capabilities. Using unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) is becoming standard for global navies, offering operational versatility in land and naval domains. UAVs are rapidly proliferating in the maritime domain, becoming a cost-effective intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission tool. 

The Aerosonde UAS, initially contracted for Freedom and Independence Class LCS variants by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command Center, is a UAS aimed at redefining naval operations. Beyond routine support, the UAS is set to play a role in forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence, providing overwatch and extended intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services with advanced payloads.

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By GlobalData

Wayne Prender, senior vice president of air systems, highlights the significance of combining uncrewed aircraft systems with crewed ships. “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 UAS operating from DDG and ESB–class ships. The expansion of the Aerosonde system’s services onto the LCS extends the capability of the various mission packages employed by the ship.”

Other Aerosonde UAS developments include Textron Systems, which initiated the first operational flights of its Aerosonde UAS for the Nigerian Army, marking the introduction of the “first UAS capability of its kind” in Nigeria. Textron Systems Corporation announced the debut maritime flight of its Aerosonde UAS aboard the USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5), following a contract awarded by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command in October 2022. 

The Aerosonde UAS, a drone with multi-mission capability, is equipped with diverse payload configurations with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and fixed-wing options. This integration into the LCS reinforces Textron’s commitment to adaptability in naval operations.

Textron is a leading military UAV manufacturer and has registered more than one million hours of flight in a wide range of hostile environments worldwide, according to GlobalData’s intelligence on drones for maritime operations.

As the Aerosonde UAS takes flight aboard the USS Savannah, it signals a shift in maritime technology, offering the US Navy enhanced flexibility and a platform for future missions.