The New RQ-7B Shadow Aircraft Builds On The Same Architecture That Has Proven Highly Successful On The Current Shadow Aircraft Throughout Nearly 750,000 Flight Hours. (Photo: Business Wire)

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that it has received a $358 million award from the U.S. Army’s Program Manager – Unmanned Aircraft Systems for engineering support and system upgrades that will create a fleet of 45 upgraded RQ-7B Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS). Deliveries of 43 systems for the Army and two for the Marine Corps are expected to begin in late 2013.
The new RQ-7B Shadow aircraft builds on the same architecture that has proven highly successful on t ...

The new RQ-7B Shadow aircraft builds on the same architecture that has proven highly successful on the current Shadow aircraft throughout nearly 750,000 flight hours. (Photo: Business Wire)

“The RQ-7B Shadow upgrade, dubbed V2 by the Army, includes enhancements to every part of the system, from the aircraft itself to the ground and support systems,” says Senior Vice President & General Manager Steven Reid of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. “It represents all of the agility and performance needed for current mission requirements, as well as robust capabilities to meet future needs. As a result, the Shadow system will perform even more reliably in core areas including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; target designation; communications relay; and battlefield damage assessment; but it also will excel in new missions such as manned/unmanned teaming.”

The new RQ-7B Shadow aircraft builds on the same architecture that has proven highly successful on the current Shadow aircraft throughout nearly 750,000 flight hours. It is multi-mission equipped with an integrated payload for day and night imagery, as well as communications relay and laser target designation capabilities. The aircraft also applies the Army’s interoperability profiles, while vastly increasing communications bandwidth and enabling digital data delivery.

In addition, the upgraded Shadow aircraft has:

  • Increased endurance, from six to nine hours
  • Extended wing with hard points to carry external stores and payloads
  • An electronic fuel injection engine for greater reliability
  • Integration of the Tactical Common Data Link for digital data dissemination and encryption
  • New Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS), Universal Ground Data Terminal (UGDT), Portable Ground Data Terminal (PGDT) and Portable Ground Control Station (PGCS)

Addition of the UGCS and UGDT to the RQ-7B Shadow system supports the Army’s vision for a universal unmanned aircraft systems operator, and streamlines the development of new mission sets including manned/unmanned teaming.

“With common hardware, software, controls and user interfaces, the UGCS has been proven interoperable with the Army’s Gray Eagle ® and Hunter assets, as well as the Shadow system,” says Reid. “It also complies with unmanned aircraft systems interoperability recommendations including NATO Standardization Agreement 4586. Based on our battle-proven One System ® command and control architecture, the UGCS is ‘universal’ in the most fundamental sense.”

The UGCS includes several features for ease of use, including:
  • More comfortable seating
  • Individually controlled vents for heating and air conditioning
  • Dual 30-inch monitors
  • More leg room
  • White boards
  • Multiple, centrally located radios

“We’ve worked alongside our customers since the very first Shadow contract in 1999 to provide smart and reliable technologies to meet emerging mission needs,” says Vice President, TUAS Vance King of AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. “Today’s RQ-7B Shadow TUAS have completed more than 170,000 missions, and with the new configuration, every element of the system has been elevated with game-changing capabilities, including multi-mission flexibility and greater performance.”

Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3eBqvcSVOk&feature=youtu.be

About AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems

AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems has designed, manufactured and fielded combat-proven unmanned aircraft systems for more than 25 years. AAI’s multi-mission capable unmanned aircraft and interoperable command and control technologies provide critical situational awareness and actionable intelligence for users worldwide. Its Australia-based strategic business, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, is a manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft systems. AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems is an operating unit of Textron Systems. More information is available at www.aaicorp.com.

About Textron Systems

Textron Systems has been providing innovative solutions to the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for more than 50 years. Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., the company is known for its unmanned aircraft systems, advanced marine craft, armored vehicles, intelligent battlefield and surveillance systems, intelligence software solutions, precision smart weapons, piston engines, test and training systems, and total life cycle sustainment and operational services. Textron Systems includes AAI Logistics & Technical Services, AAI Test & Training, AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Advanced Systems, Aerosonde, ESL Defence, Lycoming Engines, Medical Numerics, MillenWorks, Overwatch, Textron Defense Systems and Textron Marine & Land Systems. More information is available at www.textronsystems.com.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at www.textron.com.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses or delays in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; changing priorities or reductions in the U.S. Government defense budget, including those related to military operations in foreign countries; changes in worldwide economic or political conditions that impact demand for our products, interest rates or foreign exchange rates; our ability to perform as anticipated and to control costs under contracts with the U.S. Government; the U.S. Government's ability to unilaterally modify or terminate its contracts with us for the U.S. Government's convenience or for our failure to perform, to change applicable procurement and accounting policies, or, under certain circumstances, to withhold payment or suspend or debar us as a contractor eligible to receive future contract awards; and performance issues with key suppliers, subcontractors or business partners.

Gray Eagle is a trademark of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

One System is a registered trademark of the U.S. Army.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50334913&lang=en

Copyright Business Wire 2010

If you liked this article you might like

13 Stocks Investors Should Short if Inflation Remains Low

13 Stocks Investors Should Short if Inflation Remains Low

Buyout Chatter Sends Textron Shares Higher Thursday

Buyout Chatter Sends Textron Shares Higher Thursday

Textron Surges on Takeover Talk

Textron Surges on Takeover Talk

Market Recon: The Banks Trade Will Become a Yield Curve Watch

Market Recon: The Banks Trade Will Become a Yield Curve Watch

Despite the Coming Pentagon Bonanza, Avoid This Defense Stock

Despite the Coming Pentagon Bonanza, Avoid This Defense Stock