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.