AeroVironment, Kratos partner to develop multi-domain unmanned platforms

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AeroVironment Inc. and Kratos Defense & Security Systems Inc. are teaming up to develop and demonstrate “highly integrated and operationally effective” multi-domain unmanned platforms for near-peer, denied environments.

The companies say that their first collaborative project is designed to demonstrate the ability to launch, communicate with, and control a small, tube-launched loitering aircraft from a larger runway-independent UAS.

“Kratos and AeroVironment offer complementary capabilities while sharing an intense focus on disruptive and affordable unmanned aircraft solutions for the DoD,” says Steve Fendley, president of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division.

“Deploying AeroVironment’s tube-launched UAS and tactical missiles from Kratos’ highly survivable, long-range jet UAS creates an exciting opportunity to substantially increase the effectiveness and stand-off range of our existing technologies.”

AeroVironment and Kratos say that the “overall system-of-system effectiveness” will be evaluated for a variety of things, including its ability to coordinate the effects of the smaller AeroVironment systems, relay useful information back to the Kratos mothership, and either pass information back to a ground control station or act upon that information to modify mission taskings.

“Working with Kratos, an innovative host aircraft partner, together we are developing and will demonstrate the integration of tube-launched UAS and tactical missile systems into long-range, high speed and low cost unmanned systems for their transport and delivery into near-peer, denied environments,” explains Trace Stevenson, vice president and deputy general manager of AeroVironment’s UAS business. 

“With sufficient onboard autonomy, sensors, payloads and an integrated system design, we aim to demonstrate the deployment of large quantities of smart systems that overwhelm and disable enemy systems, while bending the cost curve to make it financially prohibitive for unfriendly nations to challenge our armed forces.”