Textron Systems revealed on December 2 that it will deliver 36 new Block III-configured RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the US Army in a deal worth US$66m.
The contract covers the production and delivery of the 36 new-build Shadow UAS’ and provides for ongoing engineering services that will support the fielding of the new Block III system configuration. This latest variant employs enhanced manned-unmanned teaming capabilities with the US Army’s Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet, along with design improvements that allow it to operate in adverse weather conditions. It also features a new high-definition day-and-night video payload, increased engine power and reliability, a reduced acoustic signature and an advanced communications relay.
David Phillips, senior vice president of Textron Systems, said: “We are proud to maintain our strong partnership of more than 20 years with the US Army on the Shadow programme. The Shadow Block III will support the customer with the enhanced capabilities soldiers need to fulfil today’s and tomorrow’s missions.”
Textron states that the Shadow Block III builds on the “proven success” of previous configurations of the UAS. The Shadow platform has flown more than 1.2 million flight hours, with the firm adding that the “system’s track record provides a solid foundation for continued development and use around the world.”