Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that a second Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) will be delivered for use by Australian troops preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, almost one year ahead of schedule.
The first of the two Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial systems was delivered in August 2011 and is currently operational in Afghanistan.
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 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 Shadow 200 system has been purchased through the United States Foreign Military Sales program. Originally scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2013, the United States has now agreed to deliver the second system to Australia in the first half of this year.
The accelerated delivery of the second system will enable Australian troops preparing to deploy to Afghanistan to train with the Shadow 200 system in Australia.
The first Shadow 200 system is currently operating in Afghanistan and will be certified as fully operational in the near future. It has already completed more than 220 hours of successful testing and training.
The two Shadow 200 systems are being acquired through Joint Project 129 (Phase 2) at a total cost of over $90 million.