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Looking for relatively small unmanned aircraft for use in overseas contingency operations in Africa, the US Army has selected the Aerosonde MK 4.7 small UAVs equipped with sensors and signals intelligence (SIGINT) payloads. Two contracts were signed with Textron AAI for the provision of 5 small UAVs.
The Aerosonde MK 4.7 is designed for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations and equipped for simultaneous day and nighttime full-motion video, communications relay, SIGINT, and a sensor payload in one flight.
These contracts that are collectively worth $46.4 million include the unmanned aircraft, spare parts, logistics support, new equipment training, and field service representatives.
The small UAV has a Lycoming EL-005 heavy-fuel engine; and can accommodate multi-intelligence sensors, electronic warfare (EW), and communications payloads.
Three of the UAVs will operate in Nigeria, and two will operate in Uganda in overseas contingency operations, Army officials say, according to militaryaerospace.com.
The UAV has a 12-foot wingspan; weighs 80 pounds; can accommodate 20-pound payloads; can fly as high as 15,000 feet, as far as 75 miles, and at speeds from 45 to 65 knots.
The UAV can fly for eight hours with a 20-pound payload. The aircraft uses a hydraulic pneumatic launcher and net recover system, and can launch from ground sites or from surface vessels.