USS Higgins successfully recovers Aerosonde drone in Philippine Sea operations

USS Higgins successfully recovers Aerosonde drone in Philippine Sea operations

According to information published by the US DoD on May 21, 2024, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) successfully recovered a Mark 4.7 Golf Aerosonde drone on its flight deck.

The event took place as the vessel operated in the strategic waters of the Philippine Sea. The drone, an essential tool for reconnaissance and surveillance missions, flew into a recovery net, showcasing the crew’s precision and the drone’s advanced navigational technology.

The drone provides critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, allowing for real-time data collection and extensive area monitoring. This extends the ship’s operational reach and enables the monitoring of otherwise inaccessible or hazardous zones.

Additionally, the drone’s ability to identify and track potential threats from a distance improves force protection by offering early warning and enabling preemptive measures. This contributes to the overall safety and security of the vessel and its crew.

Using drones for these missions is also cost-effective, as it reduces the need for manned aircraft and the associated risks to personnel. The integration of drone technology supports network-centric warfare by enabling real-time data transmission to other units and command centers, enhancing coordination and decision-making across the fleet.

About the UAS

The Aerosonde Mk. 4.7 is a fixed-wing UAS with a wingspan of 14.45 feet (4.4 meters) and a maximum payload capacity of 32 pounds (14.5 kilograms). It boasts a service ceiling of 14,700 feet (4,481 meters) and an endurance of up to 19.8 hours.

This model features automated launch and recovery systems, including a hydraulic pneumatic launcher and net recovery. The Mk. 4.7 operates on various datalink bands (L, S, C) and can achieve airspeeds between 45 and 65 knots.

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