The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 is a small maritime unmanned aerial system (UAS) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconaissance introduced in 2009. Aerosonde, a subsidiary AAI Textron Systems, demonstrated the aircraft in 2009 aboard the Department of Defense's Office of Force Transformation M-80 Stiletto technology demonstration vessel. The Mark 4.7 carries interchangable daytime color and night time FLIR video cameras and a laser pointer. The aircraft's integrated launch and recovery system uses a catapult and net to allow for moving recoveries. The Aerosonde can also make a ground belly landing. The Aerosonde can be equipped with the Piccolo II Autopilot and TASE200 Gimbal as well as other sensors.
A follow-on model, the Aerosonde G, received NAVAIR's 2012 UAV $847 million services contract. On March 5, AAI was also awarded a three-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $600 million for Special Operations Command’s Mid-Endurance UAS II program. The G model uses a more powerful heavy fuel engine than the MK 4.7 and a common ground control system as AAI's RQ-7.
Flying under service provision contracts, Aerosonde was designated as the MQ-19 by U.S. Naval Air Systems Command and SOCOM .
U.S. Navy Extends Textron Unmanned ISR Contract Services
19 May, 2014 — Textron Systems Unmanned Systems announced today a new task order under the U.S. Navy Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Services program that is expected to reach full operational capability by the end of May. Award of this new task order is in addition to extension of existing task orders, bringing the total monthly mission hours provided under the contract to 4,500 across all international sites.
Under the ISR Services indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity program, Textron Systems Unmanned Systems provides end-to-end, turnkey mission support with its Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) — delivered by the company’s own operators and supported by its field service specialists.
“This fee-for-service [FFS] structure brings tremendous customer value — ramp-up time is minimized, and concerns such as training, logistics and sustainment are handled by our team,” says David Phillips, vice president, Small/Medium Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Textron Systems Unmanned Systems. “Our customers — in this case, the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army — simply concentrate on the mission with a reliable, high-performance asset continuously at the ready.”
The company is maintaining operational readiness rates over 98 percent for its Navy ISR Services customers, delivering multi-mission flexibility with the Aerosonde SUAS, which is equipped for simultaneous electro-optical, infrared and communications relay within a single aircraft. The system is designed for expeditionary operations under the most austere conditions. The recent addition of the new EL-005 engine designed and manufactured by manned aviation engine expert Lycoming Engines has improved both reliability and performance.
“With benchmark-setting reliability and proven multi-mission capability, our Aerosonde SUAS provides customers with outstanding value and performance,” says Phillips. “Equally important, it maintains a small, expeditionary footprint ideal for persistent ISR, border patrol, critical infrastructure protection, and so many other military and commercial mission sets.”
Video of Aerosonde testing aboard the M-80 Stiletto.