NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Marines in Afghanistan witnessed AAI Corp.’s Aerosonde Unmanned Air System (UAS) first flight Dec. 2. under NAVAIR’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) services contract.
AAI field services representatives conducted the nearly 10-hour mission and provided real-time full-motion video (FMV) to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3.
Under ISR services, the Aerosonde 4.7G UAS is a contractor-owned and operated system. The 70-pound air vehicle provides real-time FMV and other sensor capability to Marines deployed in Afghanistan.
“ISR services continue to be a very important piece of our kit and allows us to quickly and efficiently fill the demand for our current theaters of operations,” said Col. Jim Rector, program manager for the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical UAS (STUAS) Program Office (PMA-263). “Until we field our current expeditionary STUAS Program of Record for this class/group of UAS, the requirement for both land- and ship-based ISR services are going to continue for the Marine Corps.”
PMA-263 currently supports the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations Command with ISR services, Rector said.
In June 2012, PMA-263 awarded a land-based task order to AAI under the NAVAIR ISR services contract. Under the contract, AAI provides up to 3,600 hours per month of ISR services and manages all operations and maintenance of the UAS for up to one year, with options to extend.
AAI is concurrently supporting training and UAS familiarization exercises at Twentynine Palms, Calif., for the Marine Corps.