Marina Malenic, Washington, DC – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
Textron has begun marketing its Aerosonde 4.7 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) internationally while it continues to fulfill contracts with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the US Navy (USN), said David Phillips, vice president for small- and medium-endurance unmanned aircraft systems for Textron Systems Unmanned Systems.
“We see both FMS [foreign military sales] and directs commercial sales as likely,” Phillips told IHS Jane’s on 20 April.
Manufactured by Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, the Mk 4.7 is a small catapult-launched aircraft with a heavy-fuel engine that provides greater endurance while also reducing its logistical footprint. In 2012, it was selected by SOCOM and the USN to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications relays.
Textron already has a Middle East customer for Aerosonde in the oil and gas industry for pipeline security, but the company has also been courting a military customer in the region, according to Phillips. He said there has been interest in other parts of the world as well.