Textron to Provide UAS Operations Support for Navy Littoral Combat Ships

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A Textron subsidiary has received an initial contract valued at up to $19.5 million by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)  to provide uncrewed aerial system (UAS) operation support for three littoral combat ships.

Textron Systems said it will use its Aerosonde UAS to deliver extended-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services to two Independence-class vessels and one Freedom-class ship.

The drone system is currently deployed onboard two Arleigh Burke-class DDG destroyers and two expeditionary sea base vessels (ESB)-4 and ESB-5, bringing the total number of US Navy ships supported by the Aerosonde UAS system to seven. 

Textron Systems will deploy its Aerosonde UAS to provide mission overwatch and extended intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services with enhanced mission payloads as seen aboard the ESB-5.

 “Contractor-owned/contractor-operated contracts like this support the Navy’s continued investments in uncrewed assets for their ships,” said Wayne Prender, Senior Vice President, Air Systems, in an Aug 9 statement.  “We’ve seen the benefits of our Aerosonde UAS for DDG and ESB- class ships already, and we’re honored to be expanding into this new ship class, allowing us to continue supporting maritime domain awareness and missions while delivering operational and logistical capabilities.” 

The Aerosonde system is designed for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations with both fixed-wing and vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) options.

Littoral Combat Ships are attached to the US Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron (DESRON) 7 in Southeast Asia. DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in the region. –tx/adj/mgm (Image: Textron)