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  • AAI Nabs $242M Contract
Oct 2008
HUNT VALLEY, Md., October 15, 2008 – AAI Corp., an operating unit of Textron Systems, announced today that it has received a contract totaling $242.1 million for 17 additional Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS). Thirteen systems will be delivered to the US Army and four to the US Marine Corps.

This award comes on the heels of the TUAS achieving 350,000 total flight hours. The vast majority of the systems’ flight hours have been in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Shadow TUAS reached this milestone a mere four months after achieving 300,000 total flight hours in May 2008.

Deliveries on this award are expected to begin in December 2009 and end in November 2010. Up to two systems are planned to be delivered per month. To date, AAI has contracted for a total of 113 Shadow TUAS and delivered a total of 71.

Several Shadow systems under this contract have been ordered with two new capabilities – a laser designator and a tactical common data link (TCDL). A laser designator places a concentrated laser spot on a target, enabling precise tracking by a missile to the target of interest. The TCDL is a secure, wide-band data link that transmits digital data to and from the aircraft. It serves as a common communication link between AAI’s One System Ground Control Station and many UAS including Shadow, the extended range/multi-purpose Sky Warrior, and Hunter, as well as the Apache helicopter.

The four new Marine Corps systems, as well as previously procured US Army and Marine Corps systems, are expected to be retrofitted with these features at a later date.

“This new contract and milestone reflect how important unmanned assets have become to our Army and Marine Corps customers,” explained Steven Reid, AAI’s vice president of UAS. “They rely upon Shadow systems for critical reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting information to keep warfighters safe – that is why we continue to develop and field enhancements to make them more robust and capable. Laser designation and TCDL are just two of the new technologies we are integrating to increase our customers capability to conduct new missions safely and effectively.”

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laser designator
A laser device used to establish a location or target usually for detection by an impact source e.g. missiles and guided munitions. Laser designation sources utilize a system configuration which is optically corrected in order to reach long distances as well as small losses in order to increase performance. 
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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