Procurement: U.S. Army Air Force Expands


December 23, 2007: The U.S. Army is buying 56 more RQ-7 Shadow 200 UAVs, for about $11 million per system (each containing four UAVs, plus operator and maintenance equipment.) The army already has over 360 Shadow 200s, which have spent over 260,000 hours in the air so far. Most of them are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each UAV weighs 327 pounds and can carry 56 pounds of equipment (usually a day or night vision camera and a transmitter). The UAV is eleven feet long and has a wingspan of 12.75 feet. It can fly as high as 15,000 feet (out of range of small arms). The Shadow has a range of about 50 kilometers and can stay in the air for up to six hours. The army is equipping each combat brigade with a Shadow system, to provide the brigade with its own aerial reconnaissance capability. The Shadow has been in use for seven years, and the troops are pleased with the ease of use and the quality of the video they get from it. The Shadow has been very reliable, with UAVs being available for use 95 percent of the time.


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