BY JOHN KELLER
LAKEHURST NAS, N.J.–Unmanned aircraft specialist AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md., will design airborne sensor technology that may enable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to detect and attack submerged enemy submarines and surface warships, as well as attack ground targets and participate in electronic warfare operations, as part of a $30.2 million U.S. Navy research contract.
AAI Corp. researchers are seeking to improve acoustic, electro-optical, radar, magnetics, and other sensors primarily for manned and unmanned aircraft, but which also could be applicable to ground, surface, and undersea deployable uses, as well as to anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Awarding the contract are officials of the Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, Md.
AAI will develop sensor technology to support Navy undersea warfare, airborne strike, air warfare, counter-air warfare, close-air support and interdiction, defense suppression, electronic attack, naval warfare and amphibious, strike, and anti-surface warfare as part of the Navy research contract.
This isn't the first time that UAVs have been considered for ASW operations. The Navy awarded a contract to Boeing last year to test an air-launched version of the ScanEagle UAV equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) for locating and tracking submerged submarines. MAD technology detects changes in the Earth's magnetic field caused by large objects like submarines.
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit AAI Corp. online at www.aaicorp.com, or the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst at www.navair.navy.mil/lakehurst.