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  • AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

    The AAI RQ-7 Shadow UAV saw extensive operational service with American forces in the wars covering Afghanistan and Iraq.

     Updated: 6/21/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The AAI Corporation RQ-7 Shadow is an unarmed tactical reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle currently in active service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. The system serves as a day-night, target acquisition, surveillance and battlefield assessment platform by commanders on the ground. Similar in design to AAI's previous UAV offering in the RQ-2 Pioneer, the RQ-7 Shadow has seen extensive service in the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Design-wise, the Shadow features a straight monoplane high-wing fixed to the rear of the fuselage. The fuselage itself is smooth with straight faces and a fixed undercarriage consists of two main wheels and a nose wheel. Tubular tail booms extend from the trailing edge of each wing and straddle the rear-mounted, propeller-driven pusher engine. The tail section ends in a unique angle-up shape. The bread-and-butter of the system is its electro-optical/infrared real-time relay camera held underneath the fuselage. The camera is gimbal-mounted and digitally-stabilized.

    Shadow UAV's do not have the capacity to operate on their own and as such are fielded with integral components that make up a complete Shadow system. A Shadow system will consist of four Shadow UAVs, a rail launch trailer, personnel vehicles and two ground stations. The Shadow is rail-launched and recovered on a runway via a tail hook. Preparation time to get a Shadow in the air can be as little as 1 hour.

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    AAI RQ-7A Shadow 200 Tactical Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 2002
    Type: Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): AAI Corporation - USA
    Production Total: 600

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 0
    Length: 11.15 feet (3.4 meters)
    Width: 12.80 feet (3.90 meters)
    Height: 3.28 feet (1.00 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 165 lb (75 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 331 lb (150 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x UEL AR-741 208cc rotary piston engine developing 38 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit in pusher configuration.

    Maximum Speed: 129 mph (207 kph; 112 knots)
    Maximum Range: 457 miles (735 km)
    Service Ceiling: 14,993 feet (4,570 meters; 2.84 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    None. Payload of 60lb for various reconnaissance and surveillance equipment.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Australia; Italy; Pakistan; Romania; Sweden; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    RQ-7A - Model of 2002/2003; initial Production Model Designation.

    RQ-7B - Model of 2004; larger wings; redesigned and more efficient airfoil; increased fuel capacity and range/endurance (7 hours); redesigned and larger tail unit; improved avionics suite; improved payload; TCDL (Tactical Common Data Link).

    Shadow M2 - Test vehicleof 2011; blended wing/body; increased domensions and payload capabilities.

    Shadow 600 - Fuel-injected engine; swept wings; larger UAV EL 801 52-horsepower engine for improved performance; larger version of RQ-7 series.

    SR/C Shadow - Joint Textron / Bell initiative covering two modified Shadow UAVs with VTOL capability.