HUNT VALLEY, Md., July 12 (UPI) -- AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems and the U.S. Army are partnering to develop various payloads for tactical, small and miniature unmanned aerial vehicles.
Collaboration comes under a 5-year research and development agreement with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Communications-Electronic Research, Development and Engineering Center.
Under the agreement, CERDEC and AAI engineers will explore whether various CERDEC payload concepts can be integrated onto AAI-provided UAS. During phase 1 of the CRADA, AAI will provide CERDEC an Aerosonde Mark 4.7 aircraft for payload development meeting the aircraft's specifications.
Upon successful payload integration, AAI's experienced UAS operators will fly the aircraft for capabilities demonstration.
"AAI has decades of experience designing, manufacturing, operating and supporting UAS and we bring this collective knowledge to the Army's CERDEC with this CRADA," said Steve Flach, AAI's vice president, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Our combined CERDEC/AAI UAS team promises a productive and successful collaboration."
The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 Small Unmanned Aircraft System is a highly expeditionary system that can be used for shipboard or ground-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Other UAS platforms available to CERDEC are AAI's Shadow Tactical UAS and the Orbiter Miniature UAS, which is being offered to various military and law enforcement customers through a teaming agreement between AAI and Israel's Aeronautics Ltd.