(Hunt Valley, MD - August 11, 2009) -- AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced the completion of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRDA, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to perform a variety of operational and technical assessments to support integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS).
The UAS FAA Industry Team, or UFIT, arrangement, which includes AAI, GE Aviation Systems and the FAA, provides a safe and effective means to simulate flying AAI's Shadow(R) Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) in the NAS. Testing will be conducted at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City using the Shadow TUAS, including Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast Technology and four-dimensional trajectory-based flight management testing with GE Aviation Systems. Shadow systems have logged more than 420,000 operational hours, the majority of which have taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of U.S. military operations.
"It is important for AAI and members of the UAS industry to be involved in the process of developing regulations and standards for integrating unmanned aircraft into the NAS," said AAI Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. "UAS are expanding into more roles in military and commercial applications. This is a critical point in the development of the industry to get ahead of the demand. Working with the FAA helps us understand the issues facing integration into the NAS, and we offer our industry expertise to assist."
The issue of unmanned aircraft operating in the NAS has garnered attention at the Congressional level as well. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are moving ahead with legislation to help integrate UAS into the air traffic control system.
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