US Orders 12 More RQ-7 Shadow UAVs, Terminals and Support Equipment
AAI Corp., a Hunt Valley, MD-based unit of Textron, received a $39 million production order for additional RQ-7 Shadow tactical UAVs.
The order includes 2 Shadow units for the US Army and 1 unit for the US Marine Corps. Each Shadow unit consists of 4 Shadow aircraft; 2 One System ground control stations and ground data terminals; 4 One System remote video terminals (OSRVTs); a One System portable ground control station; and associated components and support equipment.
The Shadow is a small, lightweight, tactical UAV system. The system is comprised of air vehicles, modular mission payloads, ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, and communications equipment. It carries enough supplies and spares for an initial 72 hours of operation and is transportable in 2 high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) with shelters, and two additional HMMWVs with trailers as troop carriers.
The air vehicle is constructed of composite materials, with a wingspan of 12.8 feet, and length of 11.2 feet. Power is provided by a commercial 38-horsepower rotary engine that uses motor gasoline. The payload has a commercially available electro-optic and infrared camera, and communications equipment for command and control and imagery dissemination. Onboard global positioning system instrumentation provides navigation information.
The air vehicle is intended to provide coverage of a brigade area of interest for up to 4 hours, at 31 miles from the launch and recovery site. The maximum range is 78 miles (limited by data link capability), and operations are generally conducted from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above ground level during the day and 6,000 to 8,000 feet above ground level at night.
The air vehicle uses a pneumatic launcher and is recovered by a tactical automatic landing system without pilot intervention on the runway. The air vehicle is stopped using an arresting hook and cable system.
Including this new order, a total of 116 Shadow UAVs have been ordered by the Army, Army National Guard, Army Special Forces and Marine Corps. To date, AAI has delivered 91 Shadow systems and deliveries now extend through March 2011.