Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2005 Andreas Parsch

Aerosonde Aerosonde

The Aerosonde was originally developed as a very long endurance low-cost mini-UAV for meteorological observations in remote areas. Between 1995 in 1998, the UAV was developed in Australia by two Australian companies, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the Insitu Group from the USA. The U.S. Navy's ONR (Office of Naval Research) was a co-sponsor of the program. In August 1998, an Aerosonde became the first UAV to cross the Atlantic when it covered more than 3200 km (2000 miles) in a non-stop flight of 26 h 45 min. In 1999, two companies were formed to market the UAV, Aerosonde Pty Ltd. in Australia and Aerosonde North America Inc. in the USA.

Image: © Jon Becker, Aerosonde Pty Ltd.

The Aerosonde can fly completely autonomous missions, including take-off and landing. It is equipped with a GPS waypoint navigation system, and has UHF and SATCOM datalinks for remote control. It has a payload capacity of 5 kg (11 lb), and can be fitted with a variety of sensors like TV or IR cameras, electronic jammers, etc. The ONR has acquired several Aerosonde vehicles, and is currently using them as testbeds for instruments and payloads.

Photo: © Aerosonde Pty Ltd.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Aerosonde:

Length1.74 m (5.7 ft)
Wingspan2.87 (9.4 ft)
Weight15 kg (33 lb)
Speed150 km/h (80 knots)
Ceiling6100 m (20000 ft)
Range1850 km (1000 nm)
Endurance30 h
PropulsionPiston engine

Main Sources

[1] Aerosonde Website
[2] "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap, 2005-2030", Office of the Secretary of Defense, August 2005

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 1 September 2005