AAI Receives $242.1 Million Contract for Additional Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Oct 27, 2008
Award for the US Army and Marine Corps. comes as Shadow achieves 350,000 total flight hours.  Some systems come with new capabilities including a laser designator and a tactical common data link.

AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc.  (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that it has received a contract totaling $242.1 million for 17 additional Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS).  Thirteen systems will be delivered to the U.S. Army and four to the U.S.  Marine Corps.

Deliveries on this award are expected to begin in December 2009 and end in November 2010.  Up to two systems are planned to be delivered per month.  To date, AAI has contracted for a total of 113 Shadow TUAS and delivered a total of 71. 

Several Shadow systems under this contract have been ordered with two new capabilities — a laser designator and a tactical common data link (TCDL).  A laser designator places a concentrated laser spot on a target, enabling precise tracking by a missile to the target of interest.  The TCDL is a secure, wide-band datalink that transmits digital data to and from the aircraft.  It serves as a common communication link between AAI’s One System® Ground Control Station and many UAS — including Shadow, the extended range/multi-purpose Sky Warrior, and Hunter — as well as the Apache helicopter.  The four new Marine Corps systems, as well as previously procured U.S.  Army and Marine Corps systems, are expected to be retrofitted with these features at a later date. 

This contract comes as Shadow TUAS achieved 350,000 total flight hours.  The vast majority of the systems’ flight hours have been in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In fact, Shadow TUAS reached this milestone a mere four months after achieving 300,000 total flight hours in May 2008. 

“This new contract and milestone reflect how important unmanned assets have become to our Army and Marine Corps customers,” explained Steven Reid, AAI’s vice president of UAS.  “They rely upon Shadow systems for critical reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting information to keep warfighters safe; that is why we continue to develop and field enhancements to make them more robust and capable.  Laser designation and TCDL are just two of the new technologies we are integrating to increase our customers capability to conduct new missions safely and effectively.”

About AAI
AAI Corporation designs, produces, and supports aerospace and defense systems through its direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries, AAI Services Corporation, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, ESL Defence Limited, and Symtx, Inc.  Its high-technology products and services include unmanned aircraft systems, training and simulation systems, automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment, armament systems, aviation ground support equipment, and logistical, engineering, and supply chain services.  AAI Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc.  More information is available at http://www.aaicorp.com.

About Textron Systems
Textron Systems Corporation has been providing innovative solutions to the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for over 50 years.  Known for its precision smart weapons, intelligent battlefield systems, surveillance systems, intelligence software solutions, aircraft control components, piston engines, armored vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems, Textron Systems includes AAI, HR Textron, Lycoming Engines, Overwatch Geospatial Operations, Overwatch Tactical Operations, Textron Defense Systems, and Textron Marine & Land Systems.  Textron Systems Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc.  More information is available at http://www.textronsystems.com.

About Textron Inc. 
Textron Inc.  is a $13.2 billion multi-industry company operating in 34 countries with approximately 44,000 employees.  The company leverages its global network of aircraft, defense and intelligence, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services.  Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Fluid & Power, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation.  More information is available at http://www.textron.com.

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