ABERDEEN, Md.---Flight testing of the U.S. Army's Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) is scheduled to begin the week of June 5 at the service's Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) here.
AAI Corporation (AAI) and Aberdeen officials recently signed a memorandum of understanding that allows Shadow 200 UAV flight-testing at the center, which is located within the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The agreement involves the Army in the safety testing of the Shadow TUAV during its development, contributing to program cost efficiency and scheduling, explained Joe Thomas, vice president of the company's UAV Systems division.
AAI Corporation is a subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation.
In developing the TUAV for the Army, AAI plans to test the aircraft's autopilot, payloads and data link systems at the Aberdeen facility. The center's restricted air space, testing expertise and proximity to AAI's engineering and manufacturing facilities in nearby Hunt Valley, Md., provide important benefits to the test phase of the program.
Col. Andrew Ellis, commander of ATC, said, "I think this is a very important venture for both parties. The Army is definitely interested in making sure it has UAVs to provide tactical commanders with the reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities they need. The partnership between ATC and AAI Corporation is a good start.''
Thomas added: "Working with Army test engineers early in the Shadow development ensures that we will deliver a system to the Army that is operationally safe and meets all expectations for transportability and use. Also, the center is close enough to our facilities that it won't be necessary for AAI personnel to be away from home during the summer-long flight testing phase of development.''
The U.S. Army last December awarded AAI Corporation a low-rate, initial production contract to develop the Shadow 200 TUAV system, designated by the Army as the RQ-7A.
The Shadow 200 is a tactical UAV designed to provide brigade commanders with improved target acquisition, battle damage assessment and battle management capabilities. Under the contract, four tactical UAV systems will be produced for use in Army operational test and evaluation. The current schedule is for delivery of the first system in the fourth quarter of this year.
AAI Corporation Will Test Shadow 200 Tactical UAV at U.S. Army's Aberdeen Test Center