NASA and AAI Complete Blanket Purchase Agreement for Aerosonde(R) Unmanned Aircraft Flight Services
Hunt Valley, MD.- AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that it has executed a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) with NASA for its Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS). This BPA enables NASA to engage Aerosonde SUAS with the support of AAI’s skilled, experienced unmanned air crews on an as-needed, hourly basis in response to time-sensitive missions.
Through this BPA, the Aerosonde aircraft and associated services are added to NASA’s “catalog” of available manned and unmanned aircraft platforms, providing specifications and images that enable the organization to quickly assess mission needs and engage the most suitable solution. Aerosonde SUAS were subjected to stringent NASA safety and risk analyses to ensure their appropriateness for the range of possible missions.
Among likely tasks for Aerosonde SUAS is hurricane investigation, a proven capability and mission profile the aircraft has flown on numerous occasions. For example, an Aerosonde aircraft completed a history-making flight into Hurricane Noel in 2007, supporting a NASA/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mission and spending several hours navigating the storm’s eye and eye wall. The system’s successful mission experience positions Aerosonde SUAS to take on additional roles for NASA and NOAA.
“Our Aerosonde fleet of unmanned aircraft are built for long endurance and reliable, repeatable performance in the harshest climates as well as confined-area land or maritime missions,” says Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid of AAI Corporation. “It is an honor to continue our work with NASA and its partners, providing valuable data during missions that are uniquely suited to unmanned systems over manned alternatives.”
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