Textron Systems has received a contract from the US Army to upgrade the Shadow Block II tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS).

Under the contract award worth up to $607m, the company will modernise the current Shadow RQ-7B Block II and lead product to Block III configuration.

Upgrades include design improvements, the latest high-definition day-and-night video payload, increased engine power and reduced acoustic signature.

Textron Systems will provide contract logistics support, field services, engineering support and fleet sustainment activities.

The latest award comes after the completion of ‘Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation’ of the Shadow Block III configuration last year.

Textron Systems senior vice-president Wayne Prender said: “We are excited to continue our partnership with the US Army and to bring new capabilities to the Shadow TUAS fleet.

“We are extremely proud of our people, who work every day alongside our customer to develop, produce, field and sustain this great capability for the warfighter.”

Textron said that work will be executed at its Hunt Valley facility in Maryland, US.

It is scheduled to start immediately and will take place over five years.

This award will enable Shadow UAS maintenance and provides repairs and spares to support ‘critical mission readiness levels’ for fielded systems.

The Shadow system has a proven track record of 1.25 million flight hours so far.