HUNT VALLEY, Md., Dec 15, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that its Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System has performed the first "proof of concept" flight demonstration of an unmanned aircraft controlled by a four-dimensional trajectory (4DT) flight management system (FMS) certified for use in manned commercial aircraft. It was conducted at the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., in cooperation with GE Aviation Systems, which provided the 4DT FMS, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Army. This Shadow aircraft "proof of concept" flight demonstrated that an unmanned aircraft system can be coupled with certified flight management systems as a potential enabler for eventual 4DT operations in the national airspace system (NAS).
The first flight took off at 2:50 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, December 3, from the Redstone Arsenal Airfield, lasting 45 minutes and demonstrating both lateral and vertical control of the Shadow 200 aircraft coupled with the GE FMS. On Friday, December 4, a three-hour demonstration was conducted that allowed more rigorous testing of the FMS-controlled Shadow 200 aircraft.
The demonstration was part of the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, or CRDAs, the FAA entered into with both AAI and GE Aviation Systems to perform operational and technical assessments in support of the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the NAS. Four-dimensional trajectory-based flight management is a critical part of the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System initiatives. Results of this test will be used to conduct 4DT simulations of Shadow aircraft in the NAS at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"This is a momentous event for the unmanned aircraft community," says AAI's Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. "We have seen America's military embrace the valuable situational awareness and protection that unmanned aircraft can provide, and their mission profiles are expanding continuously as a result. Our Shadow aircraft demonstration with GE Aviation's FMS is a first step toward exploring how unmanned aircraft can deliver those same benefits for homeland security, law enforcement and other missions right here at home."
AAI's Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System has amassed more than 460,000 flight hours with users including the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Marine Corps. It includes the One System(R) Ground Control Station (OSGCS), AAI's interoperable command and control platform for unmanned aircraft. In the future, AAI expects to integrate GE Aviation's FMS with the OSGCS, providing this capability to all unmanned aircraft integrated with the ground control station.
AAI Corporation designs, produces, and supports aerospace and defense systems through its direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries, AAI Services Corporation, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, ESL Defence Limited, and Symtx, Inc. Its high-technology products and services include unmanned aircraft systems, training and simulation systems, automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment, armament systems, aviation ground support equipment, and logistical, engineering, and supply chain services. AAI Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. More information is available at http://www.aaicorp.com.
About Textron Systems
Textron Systems Corporation has been providing innovative solutions to the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for more than 50 years. Known for its unmanned aircraft systems, advanced marine craft, armored vehicles, intelligent battlefield and surveillance systems, intelligence software solutions, precision smart weapons, piston engines, test and training systems, and total life cycle sustainment services, Textron Systems includes AAI Corporation, Lycoming Engines, Overwatch, Textron Defense Systems and Textron Marine & Land Systems. Textron Systems Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. More information is available at http://www.textronsystems.com.
About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at http://www.textron.com.
Forward-looking Information: Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements and speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the statements, including but not limited to the following: (a) changes in worldwide economic and political conditions that impact demand for our products, interest rates and foreign exchange rates; (b) changing priorities or reductions in the U.S. Government defense budget, including those related to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Overseas Contingency Operations; (c) our ability to perform as anticipated and to control costs under contracts with the U.S. Government; (d) legislative or regulatory actions impacting defense operations; (e) the timing of new product launches and certifications of new products; (f) the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products (g) the launching of significant new products or programs which could result in unanticipated expenses; and (h) performance issues with key suppliers, subcontractors and business partners.
AAI and Shadow are registered trademarks of AAI Corporation.
One System is a registered trademark of the U.S. Army.
Doug Wilburne, 401-457-2288
Bill Pitts, 401-457-2288
Textron Systems Corporation
Sharon Corona, 410-628-3184
Michael Maynard, 401-457-2474