AÂ TextronÂ (NYSE: TXT) business unit has been awarded a $116.5 million contract to update aÂ tactical unmanned aircraft system the U.S. ArmyÂ operates forÂ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissanceÂ missions and to relayÂ communications.Â
Textronâs unmanned systems business will work to update 24 of theÂ Armyâs RQ-7B V2 Shadow TUAS and deliver that set of unmanned aircraft back to the service branch in 2018, Textron said Monday.
The company will also help the Defense Department hire and train staff for the Shadow program and be responsible forÂ logistics and field services.
DoD has 117 Shadow units that are operated by the Army, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command.
“The Shadow TUAS has been (DoD’s)Â workhorse for years and has nearly one million flight hours — the most for any system in its class, ” said Henry Finneral, a vice president for Textron’s unmanned business.
The Army also uses Shadow systems forÂ laser designation missionsÂ and to conductÂ scouting operations with the service branch’s Apache helicopters.
Australia, Italy and Sweden have acquired Shadow for their armed forces.