Sweden To Get RQ-7 Shadow as Its Tactical UAV
Sweden is a neutral country with forces in Afghanistan, who serve under the ISAF-led UN mission. In May 2010, their FMV procurement agency signed a contract to replace their existing Ugglan (Sperwer) UAVs with more modern systems. To that end, Saab AB received a SEK 500 million (about $70 million) contract to deliver 2 complete systems, along with 3 years of system operation, training, and full maintenance.
After holding a competition, Saab AB picked Textron subsidiary AAI’s Shadow 200 UAV, which it will modify with its own technologies for Swedish use…
The AAI subcontract is worth $31.4 million, and the total delivery will be 8 Shadow 200 UAVs; 4 AAI OneSystem Ground Control System ground data terminals, 8 One System Remote Video Terminals, an 2 One System portable ground control stations, with associated components and support. Final delivery of the systems will take place in the 4th quarter of 2011, and the FMV intends to begin deployment to Afghanistan by summer 2011.
The RQ-7B Shadow 200 expands the original Shadow’s wingspan to 14 feet, endurance to 6 hours, and payload to 45 pounds. Ground system compatibility with NATO STANAG 4586 will allow video streaming to compatible equipment, and it is the US Army’s main tactical UAV. This status has had the expected “network effect” on available add-ons. Shadows are being used as surveillance aircraft with laser targeting, and as aerial communications relays that let troops in mountainous zones like Afghanistan talk to one another, without having line-of-sight. Beyond that, a US Army program seems set to arm them with GPS-guided 81mm mortars.
In addition to its use by the US Army and Marines, the Shadow 200 is headed into service with Pakistan, and may soon find itself employed by Australia as well.
May 20/10: Announcement of the initial contract by all concerned. Swedish FMV (in Swedish) | Saab AB | Textron.