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AAI MQ-19 Aerosonde

United States (2001)

Detailing the development and operational history of the AAI MQ-19 Aerosonde Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

 Entry last updated on 4/12/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  AAI MQ-19 Aerosonde  
Picture of AAI MQ-19 Aerosonde Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The Aerosonde UAV is a small-class aircraft developed for meteorological data collection.

The AAI Aerosonde is described as a modular, long endurance unmanned aerial system (UAS) which intends to fulfill the primary roles of unarmed reconnaissance, data collection and surveillance. The UAS is marketed to budget-conscious shoppers requiring the capabilities of a true UAV system without the exorbitant procurement and operating costs that go along with full-sized systems such as the popular "Predator" series. The Aerosonde was originally developed by Insitu of Washington, USA (part of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems) and produced by Australian-based Aerosonde Ltd. As of June 22nd, 2006, Aerosonde was acquired by AAI Corporation under which its name is now marketed by as the "AAI Aerosonde".

Externally, the Aerosonde UAS shares a configuration of many other modern UAV systems. The main internal components (payload, engine, fuel, sensors and avionics) are all held in a centralized nacelle. To this is affixed a straight wing assembly running over the top of the rear of the fuselage. From each wing trailing edge exists thin boom stalks that connect the aft tailplanes used for stabilization. The engine is fitted to the extreme end of the fuselage nacelle and arranged in a "pusher" setup powering a simple two-bladed propeller system. The base Aerosonde is powered by a J-Type, four-stroke, fuel-injected gasoline engine which provides the system with a cruise speed of up to 60 knots (maximum dash speed of up to 80 knots) and a service ceiling of 15,000 feet. An optional engine upgrade to a K-Twin, dual-cylinder four-stroke electronic fuel-injection engine is noted. Either powerplant makes use of aviation gasoline or 93 premium octane. With a standard surveillance loadout in place, the Aerosonde is capable of 10 hours flight time endurance. The Aerosonde is designed to be launched via a catapult-type rail system and is recovered via a two-post net structure. As such, there is no fixed or jettisonable undercarriage in the Aerosonde's design.

As with most UAV systems, the Aerosonde UAS is delivered in a complete "kit" which includes three Aerosonde UAS aircraft (with associated surveillance payloads for each), the launch/recovery trailer system and Ground Control Station.
The Aerosonde UAS was in design, development and testing into the late 1990s and finalized under various evaluation phases. The aircraft was credited with the first-ever cross by a UAV of the Atlantic Ocean in 1998 - reaching Scotland from Newfoundland, Canada in under 27 hours (26.45 hours) while under completely autonomous control.

As of this writing (2013), the Aerosonde maintains a very active presence in the world. The United States military is evaluating the Aerosonde Mark 4.4 series model to possibly add to its growing stable of capable UAVs in service. In this role, the Mark 4.4 production model is recognized as the "XMQ-19A". Upon acceptance, the vehicle will be assigned the formal designation of "MQ-19A".

The latest Aerosonde production form is the Mark 4.7 with includes automated launch and recovery features, an integrated data link facility and is designed to comply with the NATO 4586 One System Ground Control Station and One System Remote Video Terminal arrangement.

April 2018 - The Aerosonde is in contention to become the standard SUAS system of the United States Coast Guard. It is competing with an offering from Boeing Insitu. These are set to be carried on National Security Cutter vessels.
AAI MQ-19 Aerosonde Specifications
National Flag Graphic
United States
Year: 2001
Status: Active, In-Service
Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): AAI Corporation - USA / Aerosonde Ltd (Textron) - Australia
Production: 500
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 0
Length: 5.58 ft (1.7 m)
Width: 9.51 ft (2.90 m)
Height: 1.97 ft (0.60 m)
Empty Weight: 55 lb (25 kg)
MTOW: 55 lb (25 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Aerosonde K-twin (Enya R120) engine in pusher configuration.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 87 mph (140 kph; 76 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,864 mi (3,000 km; 1,620 nm)
Service Ceiling: 14,764 ft (4,500 m; 2.80 mi)

None. Data collection equipment installed.

Operators List
Australia; United States

Series Model Variants
• Aerosonde - Base Series Designation
• Aerosonde Mark 4.4
• Aerosonde Mark 4.7 - Latest (2013) offering; NATO compliant.
• XMQ-19A - Developmental US military designation under evaluation (Mark 4.4).
• MQ-19A - Formal US military designation of production quality models.