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Textron Adds New Sensors to Aerosonde Small UAV

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Textron Systems Offers New Precision Survey Sensor on Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System

(Source: Textron Systems; issued Oct 31, 2016)


HUNT VALLEY, MD --- Textron Systems Unmanned Systems announced today that the company will now offer the TK-7 Firewatch precision survey sensor on the Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) after its recent successful demonstration in Blackstone, Va.

Developed by Overwatch Imaging, LLC., the TK-7 Firewatch multi-spectrum precision survey payload features a nadir-oriented multi-megapixel color focal plane array (FPA) and co-boresighted infrared (IR) sensors. The integration of these sensors with an onboard image processing system provides advanced precision mapping and multi-image orthophoto capabilities that are able to quickly synthesize high fidelity aerial imagery and detect anomalies including hot-spots for wildfire mapping. Coupled with geospatial information systems knowledge workflows developed by Textron Systems, the TK-7 Firewatch payload capability is able to provide time-critical analytics and reporting.

"We are honored to work with Textron Systems to accelerate the adoption of long-endurance unmanned aircraft systems for civil and commercial roles," said Overwatch Imaging founder Greg Davis. "With Firewatch, we are delivering something much more valuable than video to wildland fire crews and forest health managers. We are delivering answers in the format those users need to see the data, in real time."

"By integrating this sensor onto the Aerosonde SUAS, we believe this will be a differentiator in the emerging civil and commercial application space by providing a more advanced and cost effective method to complete precision survey," said Textron Systems Civil & Commercial Senior Director Dennis Racine. "By supporting real-time situational awareness, which increases the safety and effectiveness of our wildland fire incident responders, the TK-7 represents a new disruptive capability platform and fills a technology gap for a core area in multiple civil and industry applications."

The Aerosonde (SUAS) has amassed more than 150,000 flight hours around the world. The Aerosonde aircraft can be outfitted with sensors to give responders real-time data on fire growth, burn intensity, fuels and heat concentrations. The Aerosonde SUAS is also equipped to carry numerous payloads in a single flight; for example, advanced electro-optic/infrared payloads for day-and-night persistent oversight of the impacted area, precision survey imaging, as well as communications relay to extend the reach of responders' communications in difficult and dangerous terrain.

Using Lycoming's EL-005 engine, the Aerosonde is the only system in its class with a propulsion system completely supported by a manufacturer with unmatched manned aviation expertise, including a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Production Certificate. With that come Lycoming Engines' established processes for engine development, production, services and support.


Textron Systems' businesses develop and integrate products, services and support for aerospace and defense customers, as well as civil and commercial customers. Textron Systems' innovative businesses design, manufacture, field and support comprehensive solutions that expand customer capabilities and deliver value.

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