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US Marine Corps Begins Transitioning To Shadow Tactical UAS

The Shadow TUAS.
by Staff Writers
Hunt Valley MD (SPX) Jul 20, 2007
United Industrial Corporation has announced that its AAI Corporation subsidiary has begun training U.S. Marine Corps personnel to fly and maintain Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft systems (TUAS) in preparation for the service's transition later this year to the Shadow surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence-gathering system.

The Marine Corps has decided to retire its Pioneer unmanned aircraft systems, which have supported its ground forces for more than 20 years, including significant current action in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The new Shadow TUAS replacing the Pioneers have won military acclaim in deployment with U.S. Army units in Iraq for more than four years, and more recently in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

In 1999, the U.S. Army selected AAI to be the prime contractor for its tactical unmanned aircraft system -- the Shadow 200, which is designated by the Army as the RQ-7B.

The U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have initiated a joint procurement strategy designed to leverage existing contracts and acquisition efficiencies, as well as reduce total life cycle cost of ownership.

Under this plan, the Marine Corps intends to transfer procurement funds to the Army, which manages the Shadow TUAS program, to enable the Marines to acquire two new Shadow production systems from AAI, the prime contractor for Shadow.

In addition, AAI has been awarded a $3.8 million contract from the U.S. Army to provide training services to the U.S. Marine Corps in connection with their transition to the Shadow TUAS. This performance-based logistics contract designates $3.4 million for transition training for U.S. Marine Corps personnel and $415,000 for development of the Shadow training program.

The training contract is administered by the U.S. Army in coordination with U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

The two Marine Corps units scheduled to receive the Shadow systems are the renowned VMU-1 "Watchdogs" based at 29 Palms, Calif., and the VMU-2 "Night Owls" based at Cherry Point, N.C.

"The men and women of AAI are extremely proud that the U. S. Marine Corps selected our highly regarded Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft systems to support expeditionary forces," said Steven E. Reid, AAI's vice president of unmanned aircraft systems.

"History has shown that unmanned aircraft are extremely effective and life-saving systems on the battlefield and in urban environments in support of expeditionary units," Reid added. "The Marines were the first U.S. ground forces to prove the value of unmanned aircraft in tactical operations in the mid-1980s. It's appropriate that the Marines have now chosen the most modern tactical unmanned aircraft system for their next combat missions."

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South Korea Seeks To Acquire Sensitive Spy Planes
Seoul (AFP) Jul 19, 2007
South Korea said Wednesday it is still seeking to buy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the United States despite Washington's previous refusal to sell it the high-altitude spy plane. The defence ministry plans to acquire four Global Hawk UAVs by 2012, a spokesman told AFP. The 45-million-dollar craft can cruise at an altitude of 19,500 metres (more than 64,000 feet) for up to 42 hours and identify 30-centimetre (12-inch) objects on the ground.

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