Procurement: August 4, 2005

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The U.S. Army has finally gotten a brigade level UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that does what is needed. As a result, the army is ordering 48 more RQ-7B Shadow UAVs. This is enough to equip twelve Shadow platoons (each with four UAVs, two ground control stations, spare parts and support equipment.) Since last year, every U.S. Army brigade in Iraq was equipped with at least one Shadow platoon. The new B version improves handling, endurance and electronics. This is the first upgrade since Shadow entered production in 2002. Over a hundred Shadows have been manufactured so far. The new 48 B models will all be delivered by early 2007. The 350 pound UAV can stay in the air for up to six hours (5 for the A model). So far, the Shadow UAVs have been averaging about a hundred hours in the air each month. The B model should be able to do 120 hours a month, or more. The brigades use the Shadow for everything from assisting offensive operations (including raids), to patrolling roads looking for IEDs, to watching areas where enemy activity is expected. 

 


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