Army orders Shadow catapult-launched UAVs for Army and Marine Corps brigade surveillance

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 13 April 2015. Textron Systems Corp. will provide new RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground-control systems under terms of a $79.5 million contract announced earlier this month.

Army orders Shadow catapult-launched UAVs for Army and Marine Corps brigade surveillance
Army orders Shadow catapult-launched UAVs for Army and Marine Corps brigade surveillance
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 13 April 2015. Textron Systems Corp. will provide new RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground-control systems under terms of a $79.5 million contract announced earlier this month.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Related: Tactical Common Data Link to be installed on two Shadow small UAVs under terms of Army contract to AAI

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, awarded on 3 April 2015, Textron (formerly AAI Corp.) will do the work in Hunt Valley, Md., and should be finished by the end of 2017. 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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