AAI plans to dramatically scale up the 17.5kg (38.5lb) Aerosonde Mk 4.7 - even as the small tactical unmanned aircraft system (STUAS) is in the running for a major US contract.

The smallest of the four platforms vying for the roughly $450 million STUAS/Tier II contract, the Mk 4.7 will grow by 42% to 24.9kg over the next 12 months, says Steve Flach, vice-president of AAI's small-UAS division.

The larger configuration will include a 3.4kg turret ball containing three payloads, he says, including an electro-optical camera, infrared sensor and laser designator.

But the larger Mk 4.7 platform will still be less than half the size of its three rivals for the US Navy and Marine Corps contract. The Boeing/Insitu Integrator, Raytheon/Swift Engineering KillerBee-4 and UAS Dynamics Storm each weigh above 55kg.

The current Mk 4.7 configuration meets 85-90% of the US Navy's and Marine Corps' requirements for STUAS/Tier II, Flach says.

Asked to clarify that range of requirements, Flach says the Mk 4.7 will meet all of the STUAS/Tier II contract's threshold requirements, but not all of the objective requirements.

AAI originally planned to offer the 56.7kg Aerosonde Mk 5 for STUAS/Tier II. However, the company's database of requirements research suggested a smaller aircraft was a better fit for the job, Flach says.

AAI Aerosonde 
 © AAI

Source: Flight International