> our title:

AAI Wins $600M Special Ops Order for Aerosonde Small UAV

> original title:

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Wins USSOCOM MEUAS II Award Valued At Nearly $600 Million

(Source: Textron Systems Corporation; issued April 11, 2012)

HUNT VALLEY, Md. --- AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems announced today that it has won the competitive Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS) II award from the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The three-year award, valued at just under $600 million, includes support operations using AAI's Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS). Total initial funding for these activities is $20 million.

"The team is galvanized and working closely with our new USSOCOM customer on this critical new activity," says Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Our hallmark is a full-service orientation -- understanding the mission, equipment, logistics and other factors behind customer requirements in order to create and execute a total solution. Such is our goal for the MEUAS II program."

The Aerosonde SUAS is a high-performance system that incorporates a heavy-fuel engine for superior endurance. The Aerosonde aircraft's single electro-optic/infrared payload delivers day-and-night, persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, while its large payload size, weight and power can accommodate another payload of choice for multi-mission flexibility. It utilizes AAI's one-piece Launch and Recovery Trailer and the Expeditionary Ground Control Station for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations.

"Features like payload flexibility and efficient, expeditionary operations are important when considering the special operations mission," says Vice President, SUAS Stephen Flach of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Our team focused on those unique requirements to ensure that the Aerosonde system can provide the required performance regardless of operational and environmental constraints."

Fellow Textron Systems operating unit AAI Logistics & Technical Services will provide worldwide operations and maintenance support for the MEUAS II program. The company's experienced UAS operators and field service representatives have been deployed successfully around the globe in support of customer requirements.

"There is no better way to understand the mission than working alongside the customer in the field, and we take great pride in those relationships," says Senior Vice President and General Manager Diane Giuliani of AAI Logistics & Technical Services. "Our operators and maintainers stand ready to employ their expertise on behalf of our new USSOCOM customer."

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems has designed, manufactured and fielded combat-proven unmanned aircraft systems for more than 25 years. AAI's multi-mission capable unmanned aircraft and interoperable command and control technologies provide critical situational awareness and actionable intelligence for users worldwide. Its Australia-based strategic business, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, is a manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft systems. AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems is an operating unit of Textron Systems.