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1 Oct 02. The U.S. Army announced today that Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Claude Bolton Jr., signed an Acquisition Decision Memorandum authorizing the Shadow 200 RQ-7A Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) program to enter into full rate production. Secretary Bolton signed the memorandum after the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council (ASARC) assessed the readiness of the Shadow system to enter into the full rate production and fielding phase of the Defense Systems Acquisition Life Cycle. This decision to enter into full rate production is a first for any of the Services’ unmanned aerial vehicle programs.

The contract with AAI Corporation will provide 41 Shadow 200 TUAVs for the active Army component, to include all six Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. The FY03 program is expected to fund nine systems at a cost of approximately $99 million in procurement dollars. The first Shadow 200 systems will be fielded by the end of October 2002 to the 1st and 2nd Stryker Brigades at Ft. Lewis, Wash., the 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas, and to Ft. Huachuca where soldier training for UAVs is conducted. All six Stryker Brigade Combat Teams will receive the Shadow system by May 2006.

The full-rate production of the Shadow system achieves another key milestone in the Army’s Transformation into the Objective Force. The deployment of the Shadow is the culmination of a focused, accelerated effort to get a much-needed capability to commanders.

The Shadow 200 TUAV system went from program initiation (Milestone 0), through Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) to full-rate production decision (Milestone III) in just 33 months. The Shadow 200 met or exceeded all key performance parameters specified in the Objective Resource Document (ORD) during the April/May ’02 IOTE. During the past two years, there have been more than 1000 Shadow flights totalling more than 2000 flight hours, with an operational availability rate of more than 95 percent, measured during the IOT&E.

The Shadow 200 RQ-7A TUAV System will be employed by ground manoeuvre brigade commanders to gain a tactical advantage against adversaries. The Shadow system provides a near real-time, highly accurate, sustainable capability for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and battle damage assessment. It will significantly improve commanders’ ability to detect and engage the enemy by having dominant situational awareness so commanders can “see first, understand first and act decisively.” The images and telemetry from the air vehicles can be used by the brigade commander and his staff, the brigade’s subordinate maneuver battalions, supporting artillery units and supporting aviation assets.

The basic Shadow platoon consists of four air vehicles, six High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), two Ground Control Stations (GCS), four Remote Video Terminals (RVTs) and antennas, one Portable Ground Control Station and Data Terminal. One HMMWV of the platoon transports the air vehicles and launcher trailer. Two more HMMWVs each transport one mounted GCS. Two HMMWVs are personnel and equipment transports. The sixth HMMWV carries associated maintenance equipment.

The Shadow itself has a wingspan of 13 feet and can carry a payload of 60 pounds. It has a gross takeoff weight of just over 300 pounds and has significant range and loiter capabilities. The air vehicle is equipped with an electro-optic/infrared suite.

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