September 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: Aurora Flight Sciences; issued September 16, 2013)
Aurora's Skate Supports Operational Missions In Afghanistan
MANASSAS, VA --- 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."
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.