AAI completed this work under contract to Pioneer UAV, Inc. The company now will begin fielding production units of CARS, integrating the system into each of the Pioneer ground control stations.
CARS is a highly reliable automated recovery system that allows UAV ground control station operators both in the field and onboard ship to land their aircraft in a total "hands-off" mode, achieving repeated reliable and safe recoveries. The CARS system was designed and developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation of Reno, Nevada, under contract to the U.S. Navy's UAV program office within the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) organization.
"Safe landings are cost-effective landings," noted AAI CARS program manager Carl Lenhoff in announcing the successful completion of the test program. "A safe and secure landing and recovery of the air vehicle means that it can be returned to mission readiness and operation quickly and without repair or parts replacement."
Flight testing of CARS was conducted at the U.S. Navy's Webster Field, part of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in southern Maryland. The Navy's UAV detachment VC-6 and the U.S. Marine Corps UAV unit VMU-2 participated in the successful CARS testing.
AAI is utilizing the smaller and technologically more advanced version of the CARS called the Tactical Automatic Landing System (TALS) on its Shadow UAV product line, including the Shadow 200 recently demonstrated to the U.S. Army as part of the TUAV program.
AAI has assembled a team of five companies in a bid to win the TUAV competition and provide TALS-equipped Shadow 200 UAV systems in reconnaissance and surveillance roles for the Army's tactical battlefield and peacekeeping deployments.
In the year 2000, AAI Corporation will celebrate 50 years as a leader in the development and production of innovative high technology electronic and mechanical products and services for military, government, and commercial customers in U.S. and international marketplaces.
AAI is a subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation (NYSE: UIC).