Army asks Textron to provide Shadow unmanned aircraft and tactical data link retrofits

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 25 Jan. 2016. Textron Systems Corp. will provide new RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground-control systems under terms of a $97.1 million contract modification announced Friday.

Jan 25th, 2016
Army asks Textron to provide Shadow unmanned aircraft and tactical data link retrofits
Army asks Textron to provide Shadow unmanned aircraft and tactical data link retrofits
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 25 Jan. 2016. Textron Systems Corp. will provide new RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground-control systems under terms of a $97.1 million contract modification announced Friday.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., awarded the contract modification to the Textron Systems Unmanned Systems segment (formerly AAI Corp.) in Hunt Valley, Md., for fiscal 2014 Shadow drone full rate production VII in support of the Army and U.S. Marine Corps.

Friday's contract modification increases the value of the original contract, awarded last April, to $176.6 million. The contract modification calls for Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system, tactical data link retrofit for full-rate production VII.

The Army's fiscal year 2014 budget request called for buying 25 Shadow unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The catapult-launched Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aircraft system provides Army and Marine Corps brigade commanders with reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, and assessment.

Related: Army to build special UAV airport at Fort Bliss for Grey Eagle and Shadow unmanned aircraft

The aircraft can see targets from as far away as 78 miles from the brigade tactical operations center, and recognize tactical vehicles from altitudes as high as 8,000 feet above the ground at more than two miles slant range, day or night.

The Shadow ground control station transmits imagery and telemetry data to the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), All Sources Analysis System (ASAS), and Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), in near real time. It also provides targeting data for precision weapons.

The Shadow 200 UAV, including all spares, personnel, and other components, can deploy using three C-130 Hercules aircraft four-engine turboprop cargo aircraft. Short-duration operations require only one C-130, Textron officials say.

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.

Related: Army orders 19 additional MQ-1C Gray Eagle attack drones to go with 19 others ordered last March

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 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.

On this contract modification Textron will do the work in Hunt Valley, Md., and should be finished by October 2018. For more information contact Textron Unmanned Systems online at www.textronsystems.com/capabilities/unmanned-systems, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at www.acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-rsa.

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