AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Carter Aviation Technologies LLC, giving AAI exclusive access to Carter’s Slowed Rotor/Compound (SR/C) technology for all unmanned aircraft applications. AAI will provide guidance, support and resources to Carter for continued development and maturation of its SR/C technology, after which AAI intends to develop unmanned aircraft variants for several applications.
Carter’s SR/C technology is a fixed- and rotary-wing hybrid that uses multiple proprietary approaches to deliver high speed, long endurance and vertical/short takeoff and landing capability at low cost. These features are well suited for unmanned aircraft that serve multiple mission roles. With runway-independent capability, expeditionary operations typically reserved for conventional vertical-lift platforms can be executed without the cost and performance penalties inherent in those traditional vertical takeoff and landing platforms.
Leveraging SR/C technology and the civil four-place primary aircraft components, Carter and AAI are evaluating an unmanned aircraft design employing a turbine engine. At 7,250 pounds gross weight and with 4,750 pounds of useful load, the SR/C unmanned aircraft is expected to deliver 3,000 pounds of cargo to a range of over 1,300 nautical miles at speeds up to 250 knots. Configured for multi-role missions, the SR/C unmanned aircraft is expected to deliver endurance in excess of 24 hours, making it ideally suited for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; signals intelligence; electronics intelligence; strike; electronic warfare and other mission profiles. In addition, its design would combine this level of performance within an expeditionary, runway-independent vehicle.
This 40-year exclusive agreement leverages AAI’s decades of experience designing, developing, manufacturing, fielding and servicing a diverse fleet of unmanned aircraft and innovative, interoperable command-and-control technologies. Its highly successful Shadow® Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System has accumulated more than 450,000 flight hours among customers including the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Army National Guard and Army Special Forces. AAI’s Aerosonde® fleet of small unmanned aircraft systems are lightweight and offer long endurance, mission flexibility and an expeditionary footprint. AAI’s One System® Ground Control Station and One System Remote Video Terminal deliver reliable, comprehensive command, control and data dissemination for unmanned platforms and seamless manned/unmanned teaming.
“Carter Aviation Technologies and AAI Corporation are experts in their respective domains, and SR/C offers the best qualities of fixed- and rotary-wing technologies in a single aircraft — high-speed cruise with runway independence at an affordable cost,” says Senior Vice President and General Manager Ellen Lord of AAI. “This combination of expertise and innovative technologies will enable us to extend the superior performance and great value our customers have come to expect from AAI’s unmanned aircraft systems to new applications.”