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AUVSI: USMC get go ahead to arm Shadow

18th August 2011 - 16:47 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Col Jim Rector, Program Manager PMA-263, Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems, confirmed at Unmanned Systems North America that the US Marine Corps (USMC) had got the go ahead to weaponise its RQ-7 Shadow UAS.

The fact that the system is rail launched meant that the USMC had to seek approval from policy makers and ensure that it wouldn't violate any US treaty obligations. It has been known for sometime that the USMC wanted the opportunity to arm the system and give the service an indigenous armed UAS capability.

AAI, Shadow's manufacturer, has been known to have been conducting a number of studies looking at how the UAS could be armed. Rector said that he would want AAI to lead in selecting a precision munition to integrate with the UAS.

He added that any system selected would need to be at technical readiness level nine at least. 'We're not in the business of developing weapons, we just want to demonstrate system integration,' Rector stated.

There is currently no timeframe for the integration although Rector expected the entire process, including an operational evaluation to take between 18 and 24 months.  However, that process is not expected to start until at least 2012 and will be dependent on the USMC securing the necessary funding.

The Shephard News Team


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