AAI Corporation

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AAI Corporation is an aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm in Hunt Valley, Maryland, USA. Formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation, AAI was acquired by Textron in 2007. It currently a operates as unit of Textron Systems Corporation and employs more than 2,000.

Overview[edit]

AAI's products and services include unmanned aircraft and ground control technologies; training and simulation systems; automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment; armament systems; and logistical, engineering, supply chain and operational support services.

The company’s customers include the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and its prime contractors, allied foreign government ministries of defense, and other United States federal agencies.

AAI is headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

History[edit]

AAI Corporation originated as Aircraft Armaments, Inc. in August 1950 by six aviation and defense industry professionals.

In the late 1950s, the company was renamed AAI Corporation. AAI’s parent company, United Industrial Corporation (UIC), was originally founded as Hayes Body Corporation in the early 1900s. Renamed many years later, UIC was admitted into the New York Stock Exchange for trading on December 15, 1964.

From 1994 to 2004, AAI partnered with the Czech firm, Škoda, in a joint venture to manufacture trolley buses. The company was named Electric Transit, Inc. and supplied 330 trolley buses to San Francisco and Dayton before being dissolved in 2004.

On 22 June 2006 Aerosonde Ltd was acquired by AAI.[1]

In 2007, Textron acquired AAI and related companies valued at approximately $1.1 billion.[2]

Today, AAI owns or occupies more than 1,100,000 square feet (100,000 m2) of office and manufacturing space across Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Products & services[edit]

Unmanned systems[edit]

AAI is one of a limited number of companies engaged in the design and full-rate production of a successfully fielded, operational unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for the DoD. AAI first began development work on the unmanned systems product line in 1985, winning a competitive fly-off with its Pioneer Remotely Piloted Vehicle.

The company's unmanned aircraft systems include the Shadow 200 Tactical UAS, which is designated RQ-7B by the U.S. Army, as well as the Shadow 400 and 600 systems. Worldwide, as of July, 2007, Shadow systems have flown more than 445,000 flight hours[3] and 47,000 sorties—with more than 88 percent of those hours in support of U.S. and allied combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.[citation needed]

The company’s UAS capabilities expanded with the 2006 acquisition of Australian UAS manufacturer Aerosonde Pty. Ltd. This fleet's newest model is the Aerosonde Mark 4.7 small unmanned aircraft system. In late 2009, AAI conducted a shipboard demonstration of the system aboard the M80 Stiletto ship.

In September 2008, AAI announced that it had teamed with Aeronautics Ltd. to provide the Orbiter miniature UAS in selected markets.

The company's One System Ground Control Station is fielded as part of the Shadow Tactical UAS, as well as the One System Portable Ground Control Station and One System Remote Video Terminal.

On 16 November 2009, AAI entered a 40-year exclusive license agreement with Carter Aviation Technologies concerning a possible autonomous slowed rotor/compound aircraft with potential for increased speed (250 knots) and range (1300 nautical miles) delivering 3000 pounds cargo, compared to traditional rotorcraft. It is to be based on the Carter PAV.[4][5]

AAI is developing an RQ-7 Shadow, also with a Carter rotor on top for vertical take-off and landing,[6][7] to fly in 2012.[8] AAI also intends to use this technology as the basis for their proposal to DARPAs "Flying Humvee" Transformer program.[9][10][11]

Logistics & Technical Services[edit]

AAI provides a variety of engineering, logistical, maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the company's own platforms as well as those of other original equipment manufacturers.

Its customers include the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, for which the company supports a wide variety of operational systems. The Logistics & Technical Services business unit also provides depot maintenance equipment and services to domestic and international military aviation customers.

Test & Training Systems[edit]

AAI’s test systems are used by every branch of the U.S. military. The Joint Systems Electronic Combat Systems Tester is part of the DoD’s family of testers and currently supports flight-line electronic warfare testing for several U.S. military aircraft.

The company’s Advanced Boresight Equipment systems are used to align avionics and weapons systems onboard military aircraft and helicopters. AAI also produces radar simulators that simulate varied threat signals to test the functionality of radar warning receivers and cockpit displays and controls.

AAI acquired ESL Defence Limited in 2005. Based in the U.K., ESL designs and manufactures electro-optical, infrared, and ultraviolet test and simulation/stimulation products for use on flight lines, in aircraft maintenance facilities, and at military test and evaluation ranges.

AAI also provides functional automated test equipment for satellite, electronic and other systems.

Training Systems[edit]

AAI has capabilities in the design, production, and sustainment of maintenance training devices such as the C-17 Globemaster, the F-22 Raptor, and most recently, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

AAI modified and produced state-of-the-art, simulation-based maintenance training devices for the F-22 Raptor providing students with instruction in ground maintenance, aircraft servicing, and munitions loading.

The armament training device provides hands-on skill development pertaining to the removal, installation, inspection, operation, and checkout tasks of the gun, gun doors, left main weapons bay door system and launchers, left side weapons bay launcher, right wing pylon, partial fuel system, stores management system, and weapons safing system. The trainer uses real aircraft support equipment including munitions and the portable maintenance aid (PMA).

The landing gear training device allows instruction on maintenance tasks on the landing gear systems, environmental control systems, hydraulics, and electrical and electronic warfare systems. The device supports nose and right main landing gear operation, and an operational arresting hook.

The aft fuselage training device is a mock-up of the left side wing, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, engine bay, forward engine bay door, and aft engine bay door, as well as numerous light systems and engine bay area components for removal and installation task training.

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft system maintenance trainer provides student maintainers comprehensive training on ground operation, maintenance, fault isolation, and testing procedures in a highly realistic simulated environment utilizing an interactive 3-D virtual aircraft environment. This realistic, 3-D virtual vehicle environment, as well as 2-D panels and displays allow students to navigate throughout the F-35 aircraft during maintenance training and select the virtual support equipment and tools required. A real F-35 portable maintenance aid is connected at each student station, allowing the student to monitor the virtual aircraft functions, run diagnostics, and display technical and task documentation. [12]

AAI’s training systems are utilized by U.S. and allied international military customers.

Products include naval, electronic warfare, air defense, radar, and UAS training systems.

Advanced Systems[edit]

AAI’s Advanced Systems unit primarily investigates and responds to new and emerging customer needs and markets. The company is currently working on the U.S. Army’s Lightweight Small Arms Technologies project. It has also developed the PDCue Gunshot Detection System and TDCue acoustic detection systems for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AAI Corp Acquires Leading Australian UAV Developer Aerosonde" June 2006. Retrieved: 9 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Textron Buys UAV Makers AAI & Aerosonde" Defense Industry Daily, 10 October 2007. Retrieved: 9 July 2012.
  3. ^ "AAI's Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Flies 100,000th Mission" 3 November 2009
  4. ^ "PR 2009-11-16 on CarterAviationTechnologies.com". Carter Aviation Technologies LLC. November 2009. 
  5. ^ "AAI and Carter Aviation Technologies Enter Exclusive Licensing Agreement for Slowed Rotor/Compound Technology". AAI Corporation. 17 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Warwick, Graham. AAI adds unpowered rotor to Shadow UAV for VTOL Aviation Week, 12 November 2010. Accessed: 27 January 2011.
  7. ^ Warwick, Graham. Carter flies VTOL hybrid Aviation Week, 26 January 2011. Accessed: 27 January 2011.
  8. ^ Warwick, Graham. AAI Flies Precursor To Advanced Shadow UAVs Aviation Week, 1 August 2011. Accessed: 2 September 2011.
  9. ^ Skinner, Tony. Textron pursues 'flying Humvee' programme Shephard, 22 July 2010. Retrieved: 26 November 2010.
  10. ^ Weinberger, Sharon. The U.S. Military wants a battlefield-ready flying car Popular Mechanics, 15 July 2010. Retrieved: 26 November 2010.
  11. ^ DARPA kicks off Transformer (TX) program DARPA, 12 October 2010. Retrieved: 26 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Maintenance Training Instruction". AAI. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]