AAI Textron Systems is upgrading more than half of the U.S. Army’s RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to incorporate a tactical common datalink (TCDL) supporting interoperability with other manned and unmanned aircraft. The company has a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps to arm the Shadow using the larger wing added through the Army modifications.
The U.S. military has awarded contracts for UAVs to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services potentially worth nearly $1.5 billion. The main beneficiary appears to be AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which proposed the Australian-built Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system.
The Pentagon is now spending $3.3 billion annually to develop and buy unmanned aerial systems (UAS), but this sum is still only 8 percent of the total devoted to all aircraft, according to a new report on UAS by the U.S. Congressional Research Service. The report mostly rehashes previously published material, but it does contain an updated inventory of UAS platforms in service provided by the DoD’s UAS Task Force.
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) earlier this month introduced the Shadow M2, a growth version of its Shadow 200 UAS with increased payload capacity for signals intelligence, electronic warfare and other new missions.
Boeing plans a November 2 rollout ceremony in Mesa, Ariz., for the first upgraded AH-64D Apache Block III destined for the U.S. Army.
The U.S. Army will mount the largest yet demonstration of manned and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) interoperability.
Sweden became the first export customer for the Textron/AAI Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aircraft system when a contract for two Shadow systems was finally completed on May 18. The contract was to be signed in 2008, but was deferred due to budgetary problems.
Long-established as a major supplier of systems for a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs, L-3 Communications is moving up a step to offer complete unmanned air systems, including vehicle platforms. Blending the group’s existing elements with carefully chosen acquisitions has put L-3 in a position from where it can span the entire UAS market space with fully integrated solutions.