Army wants to soup up Shadow UAV

Request for information expected early next year

Army officials are contemplating issuing a solicitation to boost the capabilities of the Shadow RQ-7C unmanned aerial vehicle, reports Kate Brannen at Defense News.

A document outlining plans to undertake a “major refresh” is now under review, Tim Owings, deputy project manager for unmanned aircraft systems, Army Program Executive Office for Aviation, said Feb. 17 at a conference in Washington.

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The Shadow will likely become an acquisition category one program, Owings said. That designation is used for large, complex or risky undertakings. If that occurs, the Shadow upgrade effort would require approval from Ashton Carter, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Once the program receives the green light, the Army would tailor a request for information. If all goes according to plan, the Army would issue a request for information in early 2011 followed by a request for proposals in early 2012, Owings said. The Army would likely host a fly-off competition among contractors.

The Shadow, built by AAI Corp., is a tactical UAV designed for reconnaissance missions and launched from a rail and recovered with arresting gear. Its electro-optical, infrared camera relays video in real-time to a ground control station.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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