Aerosonde(R) Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Log 168 Flight Hours in the
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Aircrew Supports Meteorological Research Amid
Brutal Winds and Temperatures
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AUSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition
— AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a
Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, announced today that its Aerosonde® Small
Unmanned Aircraft System logged 168 flight hours in the frigid, harsh climate
of Antarctica, supporting meteorological research by the University of
Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Each Aerosonde aircraft was
outfitted with meteorological instruments to measure pressure, temperature,
relative humidity, winds, net radiation, surface temperature and ice
The University of Colorado team, led by Dr. John Cassano, is studying
Antarctic polynyas, or areas of open water surrounded by sea ice. To learn
more about this phenomenon, the crew directed the Aerosonde aircraft through
low-level flights around 300 feet above the water's surface to measure wind
speed, temperature and moisture in an area called Terra Nova Bay. Flights also
included spiral ascents and descents to capture the atmosphere at various
heights over the polynyas. Launching from an ice runway, the Aerosonde
aircraft conducted beyond-line-of-site operations of up to 18 hours in
temperatures as low as minus 37 degrees Celsius and winds up to 81 miles per
"The crew and aircraft have really proven themselves in one of the harshest,
least-forgiving environments possible for unmanned aircraft system
operations," said Dr. Cassano.
This was the second successful deployment AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems has
conducted with the University of Colorado team. In 2009, a six-week
exploration of the katabatic winds present on the coast of Antarctica allowed
researchers to generate highly detailed, three-dimensional maps to help study
their relationship to sea ice formation.
"Once again, Antarctica has proven to be an extremely challenging environment;
however, this small group of dedicated professionals has demonstrated what is
possible at the extreme edge," said Nick Logan, flight operations manager for
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems' Australia-based strategic business Aerosonde
Pty Ltd, which led the 2012 and 2009 Aerosonde SUAS deployments.
Public Relations Team
Textron Systems Corporation
About AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems
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. More
information is available at www.aaicorp.com.
About Textron Systems
Textron Systems has been providing innovative solutions to the defense,
homeland security and aerospace communities for more than 50 years.
Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., the company is 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 and operational services. Textron Systems includes AAI
Logistics & Technical Services, AAI Test & Training, AAI Unmanned Aircraft
Systems, Advanced Systems, Aerosonde, ESL Defence, Lycoming Engines, Medical
Numerics, MillenWorks, Overwatch, Textron Defense Systems and Textron Marine &
Land Systems. More information is available at 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 www.textron.com.
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The following pictures are available for download:
[Image] Aerosonde Antarctica 1
[Image] Aerosonde Antarctica 2
[Image] Aerosonde Antarctica 3
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