Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Italy Selects AAI's Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System

AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that Italy's Ministry of Defense (MoD) - Directorate of General Aeronautical Armament has selected AAI's Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS) for the Italian Army.

Under this 51 million euro ($64 million) award, Italy will purchase four Shadow TUAS for deployment alongside NATO forces.

The Italian MoD's competitive procurement for TUAS identified several system requirements leading up to the selection of AAI's Shadow system. These features include a small system footprint; easy transportation using small vehicles or C-130 Hercules aircraft; ease of use; interoperability with other NATO forces; and the ability to take off and land from small, semi-prepared airfields.

"Our Shadow TUAS meet the mark for the Italian Army's surveillance and reconnaissance requirements -- and then some," explains Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid of AAI. "The system's compact logistics footprint makes it easy to transport and operate under evolving battlefield conditions, as proven during more than 500,000 flight hours. In addition, the vast majority of Shadow TUAS' flight hours have taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan, so our customers can see firsthand that our systems deliver the performance and robustness they need."

Shadow TUAS leverage AAI's interoperable One System(R) Ground Control Station architecture to receive and disseminate battlefield video. Its design also complies with NATO Standardization Agreement 4586, enhancing interoperability among international unmanned aircraft systems.

"AAI's Shadow TUAS are unmatched in their maturity," says Senior Vice President and General Manager Ellen Lord of AAI. "Not only do they deliver user-friendly and reliable intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications relay capabilities, the systems set a benchmark for operational success among TUAS that is beyond compare."

AAI is taking advantage of select Italian defense suppliers to facilitate the delivery of the four Shadow systems to the MoD, including RIGEL International Engineering & Consultancy Agency, an experienced Italian defense contractor. System deliveries are expected to begin in 2011.

AAI Corporation and its indirect wholly owned subsidiaries Aerosonde Pty Ltd and ESL Defence Limited design, produce and support industry-leading aerospace and defense products and services, including unmanned aircraft and ground control technologies; high-fidelity training and simulation systems; automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment; armament systems; and logistical, engineering, supply chain and operational support services. AAI Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc.

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