Shadow 200 TUAS (photo : Aus DoD)
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the signing of a $7.2 million five-year contract to provide Australian-based training for the operators and maintainers of the Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System.
Training will begin in Queensland in April 2013. Troops will train using Australia’s second Shadow 200 system which was delivered 12 months ahead of schedule in April 2012.
“This contract means we will now be able to train our soldiers to use the Shadow 200 right here in Australia,” Mr Clare said.
The Shadow 200 system captures full motion video during both day and night operations which can be sent back to a ground control station up to 125 kilometres away. It can recognise targets on the ground while operating at an altitude of up to 8000 feet.
Each Shadow 200 System comprises five aircraft, ground control stations, a launch and recovery element, and associated equipment, logistics and training.
The two Shadow 200 systems were acquired through Joint Project 129 (Phase 2) at a total cost of over $90 million.
The first Shadow 200 system began operations in Afghanistan earlier this year, providing enhanced intelligence capability to the International Security Assistance Force.
The US Army and Marines first used the system in Iraq and have been using it operationally in Afghanistan. Other nations such as Sweden and Italy are also procuring the Shadow 200 system.
The training will be delivered through AAI Corporation’s Australian-based subsidiary Aerosonde Pty Ltd.
Melbourne-based Aerosonde will initially provide three training instructors, increasing to the full contracted requirement of six as Australian instructors gain experience.