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AAI RQ-7 Shadow

United States (2002)
Picture of AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Picture of AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Picture of AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
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The AAI RQ-7 Shadow UAV saw extensive operational service with American forces in the wars covering Afghanistan and Iraq.


Detailing the development and operational history of the AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  Entry last updated on 5/21/2018. 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.

The RQ-7A is just over 11 feet long with a wingspan of nearly 13 feet and a height of 3 feet. The system weighs in at roughly 165lbs empty and 328lbs with a maximum payload. Power is derived from a single UEL AR-741 rotary piston engine of 208cc generating 38 horsepower. The engine is set up in a "pusher" fashion at the extreme end of the fuselage nacelle. A ceiling of up to 14,000 feet is reported with an endurance time of some 5 hours.

The RQ-7B variant is an improvement over the original production A models in almost every way. The wings have been redesigned with a larger surface and new airfoil along with a new tail unit. Fuel capacity has been increased which has effectively increased the Shadow's operational endurance limit to 7 hours (up from 5 hours in initial production models). Payload options have been expanded and the data link system has been upgraded to the Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). Production of the RQ-7B began in the summer of 2004.

Besides supplying ground commanders with a "bird's eye view" of the battlefield in real-time, the Shadow is capable of carrying and dropping valuable medical supplies to ground troops via "Quick-MEDS (Medical Emergency Delivery System). Two such 20lb canisters can be delivered underwing. A "signals interception" package is also in development.

There have been over 550 Shadow UAVs built and operators now include the United States (Army, Navy and Marines), Australia, Italy, Pakistan, Romania, and Sweden. The U.S. Army along operates over 450 units.

RQ-7 derives its name from the Department of Defense designation system for UAV's. The "R" stands for Reconnaissance while the "Q" designates it as an unmanned aircraft. The number "7" notes it as the seventh purposely developed unmanned aircraft in the series of unmanned aerial aircraft systems in service with the US military.


Picture of the AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Picture of the AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)



Any available statistics for the AAI RQ-7 Shadow Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (129mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the AAI RQ-7A Shadow 200 Tactical's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
600
600


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 2002
Type: Multirole Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): AAI Corporation - USA
Production: 600
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Australia; Italy; Pakistan; Romania; Sweden; United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the AAI RQ-7A Shadow 200 Tactical model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
11.15 ft


Meters
3.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
12.80 ft


Meters
3.9 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
3.28 ft


Meters
1 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
165 lb


Kilograms
75 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
331 lb


Kilograms
150 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x UEL AR-741 208cc rotary piston engine developing 38 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit in pusher configuration.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
129 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
207 kph


Knots
112 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
457 mi


Kilometers
735 km


Nautical Miles
397 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
14,993 ft


Meters
4,570 m


Miles
2.84 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None. Payload of 60lb for various reconnaissance and surveillance equipment.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• 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.