Posted by John Keller
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 20 Aug. 2013. U.S. Army officials are asking AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md., to provide six RQ-7 Shadow trailer-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under terms of a $11.8 million contract modification announced Monday.
The contract also calls for auxiliary equipment for the Shadow UAVs, and brings the maximum cumulative value of this contract to $1.5 billion, Army officials say.
UAV experts in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Australian army and Swedish army use the RQ-7 Shadow for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and battle damage assessment.
Operators launch the UAV from a trailer-mounted pneumatic catapult, and recover it with arresting gear similar to those that stop jets on aircraft carriers during emergencies.
The Shadow has a gimbal-mounted, digitally stabilized, liquid nitrogen-cooled infrared camera that relays video in real time via a C-band line-of-sight data link to the UAV's ground control station.
The Shadow 200 UAV is 11 feet long, has a 14-foot wingspan, weighs 375 pounds with payloads and fuel, flies as fast as 110 knots at altitudes as high as 15,000 feet, and can remain aloft for more than six hours.
AAI will build the Shadow UAVs in Hunt Valley, Md. Awarding the contract were officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.