Textron Systems has secured a $116.5m contract to upgrade the US Army's RQ-7B V2 Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS).
As part of the Shadow V2 block upgrade programme, the contract will see Textron supply 24 upgraded TUAS units to the army in 2018.
Textron TUAS vice-president Henry Finneral said: "The Shadow TUAS has been the workhorse for the US Department of Defense for years and has nearly one million flight hours -- the most for any system in its class.
"Our Shadow V2 increases the system's reliability and endurance for various missions, including enhanced target designation, communications relay and battlefield damage assessment."
The Shadow V2 is optimised for new multi-mission, single-sortie profiles and manned-unmanned collaborations.
It features a high-bandwidth, encrypted data link, and allows aircraft to carry payloads for prosecution missions.
The army uses Shadow V2 for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, as well as communications and laser designation.
The Shadow V2 system is currently being used by Apache helicopters for scouting missions within the army's combat aviation brigades.
Textron Systems will partner with the US Department of Defense to support the Shadow programme with staff augmentation, training, logistics and field services.
Image: Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system. Photo: courtesy of Textron Systems Corporation.