Blackstone, Va. — Textron Systems, the manufacturer of military unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Shadow, recently opened an expanded center for UAV training and maintenance in Southern Virginia, officials announced May 9.Textron is moving its training and global service facility from Fort Pickett, Virginia, to Blackstone. Known as the Unmanned Systems Service & Support Center, the facility will be used to host the company’s schoolhouse for operators and maintainers of the Aerosonde small-unmanned aircraft system. Sustainment operations for the drone will also take place there.Textron has had a presence in Blackstone since 2010, where it has trained hundreds of unmanned aircraft maintainers and operators, said Bill Irby, senior vice president and general manager of Textron system’s unmanned systems division. It expanded its footprint on the Allen C. Perkinson Airport/Blackstone Army Airfield taxiway with two new buildings.“This new set of buildings that we’ve set up is about 15,000 square feet of facility,” he said. “It’s a significant improvement over what we had before. The facilities in the past were adequate from a space perspective, but we look at this as a significant enhancement … for efficiency, product quality and enabling growth as we go forward.”
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