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  • tthorp2003 tthorp2003 Apr 3, 2012 7:27 PM Flag

    US Army re-engining RQ-7 , Looks like $$$

    UV Online
    QuadA2012: US Army examining re-engining options for RQ-7 Shadow
    03 April 2012 - 22:49 by Tony Osborne in Nashville, US

    The US Army is examining the potential of re-engining the RQ-7 Shadow UAV.

    Officials from the US Army's UAS Project Office said the moves had been prompted by a need to increase the time between overhaul (TBO) on the RQ-7's Wankel rotary engine but also by a series of engine failures during operations in Afghanistan. Officials say heat and stresses had been affecting engine bearings and this has caused several engine failures in theatre.

    A recent request for information resulted in 14 vendors offering alternative engine options.

    'The response was huge, previously with the uptake from industry, we would have been lucky to get three or four interested parties,' explained Lt Col Scott Anderson, product manager for ground manouver at the UAS Project Office.

    Some of the vendors included heavy fuel engines (HFE), but Jason Lucas, one of the technical chiefs involved with the Shadow, said that such an engine was likely to be discounted as the army does not feel the HFE technology is yet advanced enough.

    The project office hopes that the new engine will deliver a 500 hour TBO, twice that of the current engine.

    Reporters were also told of the continuing US Marine Corps programme to arm the Shadow using a classified weapon. Tests are taking place over the next year and a half and the marines hope to field field two systems in theatre at the end of that 18 months. Army officials said there was some hope that the weapon would soon be declassified allowing this to take place more easily.

    In the meantime, the army's first US Army Gray Eagle UAV unit to be integrated into a Combat Aviation Brigade has been deployed to Afghanistan.

    Fox Company of the 227th Aviation Regiment at Fort Hood deployed to Afghanistan at the end of March where it will be integrated as part of a combat aviation brigade (CAB). The unit will fly 12 Gray Eagles. It's the first time, a US Army UAV unit is to be fully integrated into the CAB in this manner.

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    • Lockheed unveils gravity bomb for RQ-7 UAV
      By: Zach Rosenberg Washington DC
      16 hours ago

      The US Army has confirmed successful the 28 March demonstration of a previously-undisclosed bomb from an AAI RQ-7 Shadow unmanned air vehicle (UAV) at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah.

      The bomb, a Lockheed Martin-built drop-glide weapon called Shadow Hawk is capable of precision guidance by a laser designator attached to the RQ-7. The bomb weighs 4.9kg (11lb) and has a diameter of 6.9 centimetres (2.75 inches). The munition impacted approximately eight inches from the designator target.

      "The development was funded by Lockheed Martin IRAD (internal research and development) dollars," says Lockheed.

      The RQ-7, operated by the Army and US Marine Corps (USMC), is by far the most numerous UAV in the US fleet. While the 28 March demonstration was funded by a branch of the US Army, other military branches and corporations have been examining the weaponisation of the aircraft. In December, 2011, RQ-7 manufacturer AAI was awarded a US Marine Corps contract to integrate and evaluate a separate small precision gravity bomb, a weapon which has apparently already been developed and fielded. "Lockheed Martin will continue to work towards additional testing to demonstrate additional capabilities of the system," says the company. "This includes ground testing of the warhead and preparation for additional flight tests."

      Neither the Army nor AAI responded to immediate questions.

    • Unmanned aircraft shoots missile at test target

      Submitted by admin on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 09:32

      The Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, in cooperation with the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office, successfully demonstrated the Shadow Hawk’s small precision-guided weapon release from a Shadow 200 tactical UAS, RQ-7, resulting in a direct hit on the ground target March 28.

      The Shadow Hawk weapon demonstrated was an 11-pound, 2.75-inch diameter, drop-glide weapon, which was terminally-guided with a semi-active laser seeker and carried an inert warhead.