MANASSAS, Va., Sept. 16, 2013—Aurora Flight Sciences announced that the Skate® Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) was recently deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom missions. Aurora's role in supporting these military missions includes in-theatre training and logistics support.
Deployment of Skate® to support operations in Afghanistan is sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
Initial assessment of Skate's performance by military operational commanders has been exceptionally positive. They stated that Skate® provides an "incredible capability" and "is very user friendly", providing outstanding situational awareness of potential threats. Combat and security teams both noted that Skate® "launched flawlessly", was "very maneuverable", and is "a mandatory requirement for operations due to its effectiveness".
Skate® is a man-packable, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition/asset designed for operation by small tactical units requiring airborne surveillance. Skate's unique thrust-vectoring system and near vertical take-off and landing flight envelope provides covert launch and recovery capability for use in tight, confined spaces. Skate® can be launched and controlled from a moving vehicle, a building window, or an observation tower. It can also be launched and recovered from the top of a small building or platform. Its Global Positioning System enabled ground control system/remote video terminal provides autonomous overwatch capabilities for moving patrols and security elements. Skate® is a force multiplier that provides the warfighter with eyes-on-target for real-time situational awareness.
"Aurora is pleased that Skate® is providing the warfighter with ISR capabilities not routinely available for small unit operations," stated Mark Cherry, Aurora's President and Chief Operating Officer. "Skate® provides outstanding situational awareness to protect our warfighters and enhance their operational effectiveness."
About Aurora Flight Sciences
Aurora Flight Sciences designs and builds aerospace vehicles for commercial and military applications. Aurora is headquartered in Manassas, VA and operates production facilities in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS as well as a Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. To learn more about Aurora please visit our website at www.aurora.aero.