Textron subsidiary Textron Systems has confirmed the start of the first operational flights of its Aerosonde uncrewed air system (UAS) for the Nigerian Army .

Aerosonde 4.7 Fixed Wing UAS vehicles were delivered to Nigeria as part of a foreign military sale (FMS) contract approved by the US State Department.

According to Textron Systems , the ‘first UAS capability of its kind’ in Nigeria will be deployed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.   

The capability is also expected to meet the nation’s domestic security needs.

The deal also requires the company to provide Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) services including sustainment, logistics services, parts and repairs support, technical publication updates, and asset support.

Aerosonde offers full-motion video, wide area surveillance, voice communications relay, and signals intelligence during the day and night.

The UAS’ multi-mission capability enables it to be deployed for expeditionary land and sea-based missions.

So far, the system has covered over 585,000 flight hours worldwide.

Textron Systems Air Systems senior vice-president Wayne Prender said: “We are excited to see the continued expansion of Aerosonde to our partner countries.

“This delivery adds to our increasing international presence and highlights the market growth for advanced uncrewed capabilities.

“We know the Aerosonde system will make a difference for Nigeria as it provides the most cost-effective, real-time ISR capability in its class.”

In August this year, Textron Systems commenced training for US Army personnel on the use of its Shadow tactical uncrewed aircraft system (TUAS). 

The Shadow TUAS will support the US Army Combat Aviation Brigades and special forces.