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AeroVironment Expands Blackwing UAS Program

AeroVironment Expands Blackwing UAS ProgramAeroVironment

AeroVironment Expands Blackwing UAS Program

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AeroVironment, a global leader in UAS for both military and commercial applications, announces the expansion of the Blackwing UAS program. This expansion comes after receiving a contract award from the United States Navy on September 29, 2017. The contract includes orders for multiple Blackwing vehicles, sensor payloads and refurbishment kits for a total value of $2,578,822. The initial set of vehicles are anticipated for delivery by May 2018, and final delivery anticipated by November 2018.

Blackwing is a small, tube-launched unmanned aircraft that employs an advanced, miniature electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) payload, integrated inertial/GPS autopilot system and secure Digital Data Link (DDL), all packaged into a vehicle that launches from under the surface of the sea, from manned submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

“Since first being deployed just a few months ago, Blackwing has delivered valuable new capabilities to United States naval undersea warfare units,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “This contract is consistent with the Navy’s plans to resupply existing vessels and equip additional submarines with the Blackwing capability.”

Blackwing builds on AeroVironment’s extensive operational experience with small UAS and its Switchblade® Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) to provide the Navy with a low-cost, submarine-launched UAS optimized for denied environments. AeroVironment developed the Blackwing system as part of a 2013 Navy and United States Pacific Command (PACOM) sponsored Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD) called Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS against Mobile targets (AWESUM). This JCTD was completed in September 2015 with a strong recommendation to transition the capability into the fleet.

“Blackwing can also be integrated with and deployed from a wide variety of surface vessels and mobile ground vehicles to provide rapid response reconnaissance capabilities to help warfighters proceed with certainty, even in the most challenging settings, helping to ensure safe and successful missions,” Flittie said.

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport (NUWCDIVNPT) awarded this contract to AeroVironment, the only manufacturer of the Blackwing UAS, on a sole source basis in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) guidelines.

For more information please visit the  AeroVironmentt Website

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