BENGALURU: Aerospace and defence technologies conglomerate Textron Systems of the United States is on the threshold of forging a strategic partnership with a leading, reputed local enterprise for production of Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System for the Indian Navy.
Textron has responded to the request for information (RFI) issued by the navy for 50 small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) (each system consists of 50 such aircraft), and expect the request for proposal (RFP) to be issued early next year.
“It’s the first time that we will be working with the navy. We are in the final stages of forging a partnership with a well-known, very respected Indian company to make these SUAS under the Make-in-India initiative,” Mr David Philips, Vice President, Small and Medium Endurance Unmanned Air Systems, Textron, told Deccan Chronicle.
He said Aerosonde could be fired from a catapult launcher for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions, aided by its day/night infra-red cameras and data link range of 170 km during each 17 hour mission.
It offers both military and commercial applications around security and critical infrastructure protection, and has been designed for both land-based and sea-based missions.
It has logged almost 200,000 flight hours in various weather conditions in all seven continents. Its success has spurred the development of an enhanced quadrotor variant known as the Aerosonde HQ.
This configuration combines the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a multi-rotor platform with the efficiency and speed of the Aerosonde SUAS fixed-wing aircraft.
Meanwhile, Vince Logsdon, Vice President, Business Development, Textron Systems, said: “We are glad to consider the ‘Made in India’ approach within any of our product lines, as long as it makes sense for both the Indian and American teaming partners. India is an important market for us. We maintain ongoing communications with government, armed forces and security agency customers and prospects to share information on our solutions and services capabilities, and we have responded to several requests for information along those lines.”