Textron Systems has commenced training for US Army personnel on the use of its advanced Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS).  

With nearly 1.3m flight hours, the Shadow TUAS will support the US Army Combat Aviation Brigades (CABs) and special forces.

The upgraded Shadow TUAS, or Shadow RQ-7B V2 Block III, was developed as part of a $607m contract to modernise the Shadow RQ-7B Block II.  

Under the new configuration, the aircraft features mission-focused upgrades such as a 24% increase in horsepower and advanced HD payload capability.

The system is also environmentally hardened to survive over two inches of rain per hour.

The company has fielded over 100 upgraded Shadow aircraft to the US Army.

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In order to help the army deploy the improved Shadow TUAS, Textron was selected to provide soldiers with new equipment training (NET). 

According to the company, each NET event comprises a five-week training period. Of this, two weeks are dedicated to classroom training and three weeks for flight operations.

Textron’s NET team is working with a team of subject matter experts and field service representatives to enable soldiers to safely operate the aircraft.

So far, the team has completed nine NET events. Five more training events are scheduled to be held through the year-end.

Textron Systems Business Development senior director Jim Ryan said: “These NET events provide Textron Systems the unique opportunity to maintain regular touchpoints with the US Army customer, from development of the aircraft, all the way through fielding and deployment.

“We have a team of subject matter experts with an operational mindset who are dedicated to supporting the sustainment of the Shadow TUAS.”

As per the company, the Shadow TUAS will support the US Army’s global military operations through to 2036.