The US Army is to upgrade the payload on its AAI RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aircraft systems because of operational requirements in Afghanistan and Iraq, where higher-resolution imagery is required in populated areas.

Pop 200 sensors developed by Israel Aerospace Industries' Tamam division have been used by the US Army's Shadow and Pioneer air vehicles since their introduction to operational service, but will be replaced with Pop 300 systems on the Shadow.

Incorporating a daylight sensor, thermal imager with near infrared capability and a laser pointer, the Pop 300 is integrated by replacing the optics line replaceable unit, and will improve resolution by 30-40%, says Tamam marketing director Igal Mevorach.

The US Marine Corps has meanwhile tested Tamam's MiniPop ultra lightweight electro-optic payload as a fire control tool during firing tests of a BAE Systems GAU-17 7.62mm minigun with the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor. The 8-9kg (17.6-19.8lb) MiniPop uses an uncooled forward-looking infrared sensor.

 © AAI

Source: Flight International