Hunt Valley, Maryland — December 21, 2009 — AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that Flint Hills Solutions, LLC of Kansas has utilized an Aerosonde Mark 4 unmanned aircraft successfully in support of Operation Black Saber II, an Army pre-deployment exercise to prepare troops for overseas missions. The Aerosonde aircraft, manufactured by AAI, was the only unmanned asset employed during the day-long, live-fire and air-assault exercise, which included the Bell Helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, Boeing AH-64 Apache and Chinook, and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk — every manned asset in the Army Aviation inventory.
While the Aerosonde Mark 4 aircraft flew in an aerial reconnaissance role, the manned aircraft targeted areas of interest on the ground and soldiers engaged targets in a simulated urban environment at Smoky Hills Air National Guard Range. Operation Black Saber II was led by the First Squadron, Sixth Cavalry Regiment, which is expected to deploy overseas in early 2010.
“The Aerosonde aircraft flew in a layered configuration with the many manned assets and served as a vital ‘eye in the sky,’” explains President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Powers of Flint Hills Solutions. “Operation Black Saber II showcased the vital role that unmanned aircraft play in modern military operations.”
“Witnessing the incredible user acceptance of our unmanned aircraft systems among warfighters is an immense privilege,” says AAI’s Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. “Their confidence only fuels our drive to create flexible, high-performance systems for not only the traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] role, but for new and ever-expanding unmanned aircraft mission profiles.”
The Aerosonde fleet of small unmanned aircraft systems offers high endurance for persistent ISR, as well as a small, expeditionary footprint ideal for fast, easy ground or shipboard launch. AAI has offered the Aerosonde Mark 4.7, a derivative of the Aerosonde Mark 4 aircraft, as its entry for the joint U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS)/Tier II competition.
Flint Hills Solutions provides full-service unmanned aircraft emergency response capabilities including scenario planning, technology evaluation and actionable intelligence process development.
About Flint Hills Solutions, LLC
Flint Hills Solutions is a high technology and services company with emphasis on the Aerospace and Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) market. With a deep knowledge of the FAA requirements that will drive the development and certification of the UAS aircraft systems and payloads, Flint Hills Solutions is a strong partner to many Original Equipment Manufacturers of Unmanned Systems that have the need to move their products and solutions to the National Air Space. In addition, Flint Hills Solutions has a long and successful track record in identifying high readiness level technologies and rapidly developing solutions to integrate these technologies into UAS applications for Defense, Homeland Security, Commercial, as well as State and Local customers.