Textron system has announced it has begun operational flights of its Aerosonde UAS otherwise known as Drone for the Nigerian Army, on 11 October 2022.
Aerosonde is equipped with Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities and will serve as the first UAS of its kind to be used in the Nigerian Military.
The UAS is designed for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations and can deliver simultaneous day/night full-motion video, wide area surveillance and voice communication relay.
Nigeria has received several Aerosonde Mk 4.7 fixed-wing UAS to enhance its domestic security and Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance mission capabilities.
The contract is worth $25.6 million and was awarded to Textron by the US DoD in 2020 to deliver the UAS to Nigeria. It was funded under the US overseas contingency and peacekeeping operations budget.
The arrival of the UAS from Aerosonde is expected to help in enhancing the capability of the Nigerian Military to better take charge in the various theatre of operations across the Country and give it an additional eye in the sky with enhanced capabilities.
This acquisition follows on from the inauguration of several platforms for with ISR and attack capabilities by the Nigerian Airforce which includes the Chinese Unmanned Aerial Vehicle known as Wingloong and several Others including the locally produced Drone by the Airforce Institute of Technology known as Gulma.
The Nigerian Airforce also has in its inventory other locally produced unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as Amebo and the latest one Tsaigumi.
They are all based on the design of the Israeli designed Aerostar drone.
The Nigerian Airforce is also reportedly in the process of the Acquisition of the now famous Turkish made Drone Bayraktar TB2 made famous for its effective use by Ukraine in repelling Russian attacks following its invasion by its more powerful and Nuclear armed neighbour in February.
The newly acquired capability is expected to aid the Nigerian Military in curbing the activities of Terrorists, Bandits/Criminals and Crude Oil thieves in the Niger Delta.