Textron Systems Unmanned Systems has announced that its Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) has surpassed one million total flight hours, becoming what the company claims is the only unmanned aircraft system of its size to accomplish this significant milestone. More than 85 percent of these one million flight hours occurred during combat operations.
Since its introduction in 1999, the Shadow TUAS has received various upgrades, including all digital, encrypted communications, increased bandwidth and onboard power supporting multiple payloads in a single sortie, extended wings and engine improvements improving performance, as well as a network based architecture compliant with STANAG requirements for interoperability. The Shadow TUAS actively supports the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), as well as armed forces in Italy, Sweden and Australia.
“Achieving one million flight hours is a monumental milestone for the Shadow TUAS and its customers that demonstrates the Shadow system’s unparalleled reliability and performance,” says Textron Systems Unmanned Systems Vice President of TUAS Henry Finneral. “As the only UAS in its size to reach this milestone, our newest generation Shadow V2 offers the highest level of reliability matched only by its broadened set of operational capabilities.”
The Shadow V2 is an all-digital system optimized to excel in its core intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role. Shadow V2 is equipped for additional simultaneous mission sets, including communications relay, target laser designation, and Manned-Unmanned Teaming. With the Army’s integration of the enhanced Shadow V2 TUAS into its combat aviation brigades, the system has been fielded successfully alongside Apache helicopters for ongoing aerial scouting combat missions. In 2015, Textron Systems also demonstrated the Shadow V2 aircraft with its own Fury lightweight precision weapon.