AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, and ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) announced today that the organizations have entered into a strategic alliance to align AAI's advanced unmanned aircraft and command and control technologies with ViaSat integrated airborne and terrestrial satellite communications, as well as its Internet Protocol-based networking and security technology. Under the agreement, the organizations intend to develop and mature beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications capabilities for current and next-generation AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems aircraft.
Along with fellow Textron Systems business Overwatch, AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems and ViaSat collaborate on the Forward Airborne Secure Transmission and Communication, or FASTCOM™, system. FASTCOM is an end-to-end, mobile cellular network that accommodates Top Secret smartphone communications. Through this strategic alliance, the two companies can build on the FASTCOM system's maturity with additional third- and fourth-generation, or 3G and 4G, capability to further enhance battlefield communications.
"The performance and affordability of tactical UAS like our Shadow® system make them an invaluable battlefield asset with a growing mission spectrum," says Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Our customers' unmanned assets need to be as flexible and capable as the troops who utilize them, and this new strategic alliance with ViaSat is one way that we're staying on the leading edge of system development and integration."
"This new phase of the AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems relationship is completely in-sync with our intent to continue delivering industry-leading broadband performance over ultra-small-aperture airborne satellite communication systems," said Vice President and General Manager for ViaSat Global Mobile Broadband Paul Baca. "And our private satellite network services can deliver the dedicated bandwidth needed to distribute tactical UAS video throughout the battlespace."
Source: Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT)
Date: Jan 24, 2012