AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today the introduction of the Shadow M2 Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition. On display in booth #1424, the Shadow M2 is the next generation of AAI UAS’ renowned, battle-proven Shadow 200 TUAS, which has amassed nearly 700,000 flight hours with customers including the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.
With a wingspan of 25 feet, the Shadow M2 aircraft offers greater endurance for longer mission capacity, as well as execution of new mission profiles. Increased payload volume, dual payload bays and external wing hard points provide additional room for avionics, mission equipment, communication solutions and sense-and-avoid equipment. This payload flexibility benefits both tactical users requiring a multi-mission-capable asset, as well as civil users requiring law enforcement, disaster response, homeland security or scientific support. A new heavy fuel engine provided by fellow Textron Systems operating unit Lycoming Engines is designed to manned aircraft specifications to enhance aircraft performance and reliability. The Shadow M2 can launch, fly and laser designate at higher altitudes, and incorporates a larger parachute, simpler equipment access and enhanced landing gear for greater ease of use.
The Shadow M2’s modular design and common avionics systems architecture enables rapid reconfiguration for combined mission capabilities, including: synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with ground and dismount moving target indicators (GMTI/DMTI); wide-area surveillance; signals intelligence; electronic warfare; Triclops, the U.S. Army’s multi-sensor payload system; satellite communications; communications relay systems; and enhanced electro-optical/infrared sensors with features such as SAR/GMTI, short-wave infrared and high-definition capabilities.
“Our UAS customers need multi-mission solutions to achieve tactical success and affordability,” says AAI UAS Senior Vice President & General Manager Steven Reid. “For that reason, our current Shadow aircraft can accommodate communications relay, laser designation, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The Shadow M2 brings even greater mission capability, along with enhanced performance.”
Supporting total life cycle affordability, the Shadow M2 is compatible with all of the Shadow 200 aircraft’s support equipment and infrastructure. Operations and maintenance retraining are minimized as a result. For current Shadow TUAS users, these streamlined logistics and improved reliability provide an affordable, rapidly deployable path to next-generation capabilities.