Despite a replacement program being well underway, the US Army has contracted Textron Systems to upgrade its fleet of Shadow 200 Block II tactical UAS to a new Block III standard.
The Block III upgrade comprises improved air vehicle performance in adverse weather conditions, a new high-definition EO/IR sensor payload, increased engine power and reliability, a reduced acoustic signature, and an advanced communications relay. The upgrade contract follows a successful follow-on operational test & evaluation (FOT&E) of the upgraded system in 2020.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the US Army and to bring new capabilities to the Shadow TUAS fleet,” Senior Vice President of Textron Systems, Wayne Prender said in a statement. “We are extremely proud of our people, who work every day alongside our customer to develop, produce, field and sustain this great capability for the Warfighter.”
The US Army is in the final stages of its Future TUAS (FTUAS) program to replace the Shadow, with four systems – the Textron Aerosonde HQ, L3Harris FVR-90, Arcturus Jump 20, and the Martin UAV Bat – under consideration.
The Australian Army will soon select a replacement for its own Shadow 200 TUAS capability through its Project LAND 129 Phase 3 requirement, with Textron’s Aerosonde V4/HQ and the Insitu Pacific ScanEagle/Integrator systems shortlisted in late 2020.