UV - Unmanned Vehicles

AAI Receives $242M Contract Award for Additional Shadow Tactical UAS

15th October 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that it has received a contract totaling $242.1 million for 17 additional Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS). Thirteen systems will be delivered to the U.S. Army and four to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Deliveries on this award are expected to begin in December 2009 and end in November 2010. Up to two systems are planned to be delivered per month. To date, AAI has contracted for a total of 113 Shadow TUAS and delivered a total of 71.

Several Shadow systems under this contract have been ordered with two new capabilities -- a laser designator and a tactical common data link (TCDL). A laser designator places a concentrated laser spot on a target, enabling precise tracking by a missile to the target of interest. The TCDL is a secure, wide-band datalink that transmits digital data to and from the aircraft. It serves as a common communication link between AAI's One System(R) Ground Control Station and many UAS -- including Shadow, the extended range/multi-purpose Sky Warrior, and Hunter -- as well as the Apache helicopter. The four new Marine Corps systems, as well as previously procured U.S. Army and Marine Corps systems, are expected to be retrofitted with these features at a later date.

This contract comes as Shadow TUAS achieved 350,000 total flight hours. The vast majority of the systems' flight hours have been in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Shadow TUAS reached this milestone a mere four months after achieving 300,000 total flight hours in May 2008.

"This new contract and milestone reflect how important unmanned assets have become to our Army and Marine Corps customers," explained Steven Reid, AAI's vice president of UAS. "They rely upon Shadow systems for critical reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting information to keep warfighters safe; that is why we continue to develop and field enhancements to make them more robust and capable. Laser designation and TCDL are just two of the new technologies we are integrating to increase our customers capability to conduct new missions safely and effectively."

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