AAI has unveiled a new, extended-range and more capable version of the RQ-7B Shadow 200 unmanned aircraft system.

The square aerofoil of the RQ-7B has been tapered and lengthened by 0.61m (2ft) on each side, increasing the wingspan from 4.27m to 5.49m, says Russ Walker, AAI's vice-president for tactical UAS.

The rewing modification kit, which also extends the twin booms by 200mm (8in) each, increases fuel capacity from 44 litres (12USgal) to 71 litres, extending endurance from 6h to 9h, Walker says.

The new wing also allows the aircraft to be upgraded to the tactical common datalink and adds two hardpoints for wing stores, with special pods designed by Dynetics called QuickMeds for dispensing about 4.5kg (9.9lb) of medical supplies.

The US Army has ordered around 100 extended wing sets to enter production next year, Walker says. The order was funded through the recent surge of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to Iraq initiated by Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.

Source: Flight International