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TEXTRON SYSTEMS TOUTS HYBRID ‘AEROSONDE HQ’ SMALL DRONE

Article and photo by Bill Carey

Textron Systems has at least one potential customer for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) version of its Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system. The Aerosonde Hybrid Quadrotor (HQ) adds four rotors to what is otherwise a catapult-launched fixed-wing aircraft.“Our customer has asked us for an estimate in terms of time and dollars to get it out there,” said David Phillips, Textron Systems vice president of small and medium endurance UAS. While he declined to identify the interested customer, the majority of Aerosonde users are military services, including the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations Command.Textron Systems announced in late April that it had demonstrated a VTOL version of the Aerosonde with assistance from Latitude Engineering and Cloud Cap Technology. The company exhibited a full-sized model for the first time at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference that began October 3 in Washington, D.C. It plans to further demonstrate the aircraft later this week at its new Unmanned Systems Service and Support Center in Blackstone, Va.

Full Ainonline article here