The US Army’s 1st Armored Division (1AD) has conducted operational tests of the new RQ–7B Shadow Block III unmanned aerial system (UAS).

Carried out by the operators of 1AD Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS), the operational tests included 94 missions, covering more than 400 flight hours.

Tests were performed in realistic battlefield conditions across the wide Fort Bliss desert terrain.

Some of the missions performed include area surveillance, reconnaissance, calls for fire, target lazing and designation, and intelligence gathering.

The Shadow Block III system is an enhanced version of the US Army’s version 2 (V2) systems.

It features a better payload, improved engine, weatherisation package and an upgraded avionics package.

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TUAS Follow-on Test (FOT) test officer James Adams stated that the upgrades are expected to boost the Shadow’s reliability and availability on the battlefield.

Adams and his team partnered with the operators of the Shadow from the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division and ground troops from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division.

Adams said: “The test unit has stated that the Shadow Block III upgrades to the payload and communication systems, set this system ahead of the V2.”

“Assets from the 1–37 AR such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicles, mortar-equipped Armored Personnel Carriers and HMMVVs enabled the test team to present realistic targets that simulated near peer capabilities for operators to track and report to higher headquarters.”