Nasa will be able to engage AAI Corporation’s Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) under a new blanket purchase agreement.

The Aerosonde SUAS will be added to Nasa’s fleet of manned and unmanned aircraft platforms used for a range of missions including hurricane investigation, after a Aerosonde aircraft successfully completed a history-making flight into Hurricane Noel in 2007, spending several hours navigating the storm’s eye.

AAI Corporation Unmanned Aircraft Systems vice-president Steven Reid said the Aerosonde fleet of unmanned aircraft are built for long endurance and reliable, repeatable performance in the harshest climates as well as confined-area land or maritime missions.

The mission experience positions Aerosonde SUAS to take on additional roles for Nasa and NOAA, the AAI statement adds.

AAI, a Textron System subsidiary, designs, produces and supports aerospace and defence systems.