RQ-7 Shadow 200

About the RQ-7 Shadow:

The AAI (Textron) RQ-7 Shadow is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) designed to provide tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).

The Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) RQ-7 Shadow 200 provides dedicated reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition; intelligence, battle damage assessment; and force protection. The Shadow has logged close to 1 million flight hours since June 2001, most of which have been flown in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Shadow UAV has an operating range of 50 kilometers and remains on station for up to 6 hours or up to 9 hours with the re-wing configuration. The Shadow 200 can see targets up to 125 kilometers away and recognize vehicles up to 8,000 feet above the ground. Shadow 200 aircraft have been enhanced with extended wings for superior endurance. The Shadow UAS can be transported by C-130 Hercules or larger military transport aircraft.

The full Shadow System consists of 4 air vehicles with payload, launcher and ground control and support equipment including: power generation, communications equipment, automated recovery equipment, one system remote video terminals vehicle mounted shelter, and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) with trailer. Each system is equipped with one Maintenance Section Multifunctional (MSM) and is supported at the division level by a mobile maintenance facility. The baseline fielded payload is electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) with a laser designator payload.

A ground crew can prepare a launcher and ready an RQ-7 Shadow 200 for flight in a matter of minutes. The hydraulic launcher mounts on a standard HMMWV trailer.

The U.S. Army has purchased 102 systems (408 UAVs) through FY 2009, which was the last year of Army RQ-7 purchases. Overseas, the RQ-7B 200 is used by the military forces of Australia, Italy and Sweden.

The AAI Shadow 400 and Shadow 600:

The RQ-7 200 is the only Shadow variant in service with the U.S. military. AAI Corporation (with limited success) also offered Shadow 400 and 600 variants. The Shadow 400 was proposed as a ship-based variant, with a hydraulic launcher and a net recovery system, designed to support naval operations. No production aircraft have been built and AAI is no longer offering this variant. The endurance of the Shadow 600 UAV is in the 12-14 hour range vs. 6 hours for the RQ-7A 200 variant and 9 hours for the RQ-7B 200. Other improvements include a more powerful 52 hp engine (the RQ-7 200 engine has 38 hp). A limited no. of Shadow 600 production aircraft were built and AAI is no longer offering this variant.

Shadow M2:

Shadow M2 is AAI's next generation version of its proven Shadow 200 TUAS. The aircraft accommodates higher-altitude flight and offers flexible payload configurations. Dual payload bays will accomodate electro-optic/infrared/laser designation (EO/IR/LD) systems, synthetic-aperture radar/ground moving target identification (SAR/GMTI), and special-purpose payloads. Also, the aircraft features an integrated communications relay capability, satellite communications (SATCOM) data link integration for beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) operations. The Shadow M2 also accommodates wing-mounted multi-mission payloads for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection.




A full RQ-7 system with 4 UAVs, launcher, ground control station, and associated spares and other equipment has a price tag of about $15.5 million (in 2011). The unit cost (just the aerial vehicle) is $750,000 (in 2011).


The RQ-7 Shadow provides near-real-time reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and force protection during day/night and limited/adverse weather conditions.

FY 2013 DoD Program:

Provides funds in the amount of $73.3M have been allocated for modifications to Army/USMC RQ-7 UAS - this figure is net of $5.2M in sequestration cuts - Click for sequestration data for this program.

FY 2014 DoD Program:

FY 2014 Army funding of $121.9M supports the acquisition of 7 Shadow TCDL Retrofit Kits and initial spares, Government Furnished Equipment (GFE), 7 Launchers, 94 New Mission Computers, 16 Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) payloads, and 6 Universal Mission Simulators. FY 14 also procures 70 MDAS Extended Range Antennas, Systems Engineering/Program Management (SE/PM), Logistics, Fielding and Training. For more information, click to view the FY2014 RQ-7 Army Budget

USMC: FY 2014 requested funding of $26.4M supports the continuation of the Congressionally mandated TCDL and supports P3I, retrofit, and associated equipment for Shadow, including, but not limited to, technology insertion upgrades to improve reliability, safety and performance, weaponization, communications, target designation, and other upgrades to be determined based on operational requirements and user needs. FY 2014 funding will be utilized to procure two TCDL upgrade kits, and incorporation of twenty six Small Mission Computers, at a minimum, to maintain Marine Corps RQ-7B Shadow Unmanned Air Systems interoperability with United States Army systems. For more information, click to view the FY2014 RQ-7 Marine Corps Budget.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and AAI-Textron.

Product Type:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Using Service (US):

Army, USMC, and SOCOM

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractors:

AAI Corporation (Textron)

The RQ-7 Shadow UAV

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2014 Budget

Last Update: September 30, 2013.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:

AAI's RQ-7 Site: RQ-7 Shadow

YouTube: RQ-7 Shadow | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: RQ-7 Shadow 200
Fact Sheet: Shadow M2

RQ-7 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the RQ-7 Shadow in FY2011, FY2012, FY2013 and FY2014
DoD Purchases of RQ-7 Shadow UAVs in FY2011, FY2012, FY2013 and FY2014
DoD Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12 + Budget for FYs 2013 and 2014

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the RQ-7 Shadow

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Modification of RQ-7 UAS (ARMY) Modification of RQ-7 UAS (USMC) Sequestration FY2013
RQ-7 Shadow Budget (SOCOM)

Aircraft Specifications: RQ-7A/B Shadow 200 + Re-Wing

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Primary Function: Tactical reconnaissance UAV
Prime Contractor: AAI Corp. (Textron)
Power Plant: 1x Wankel UAV-741 Engine with 38 hp
RQ-7A 200: 12.8 ft (3.9 m)
RQ-7B 200: 14 ft (4.3 m)
RQ-7B 200 re-wing: 20.4 ft (6.2 m)
RQ-7A 200: 11.6 ft (3.4 m)
RQ-7B 200: 11.6 ft (3.4 m)
RQ-7B 200 re-wing: 11.8 ft (3.6 m)
Height: 3.3 ft (1.0 m)
RQ-7A 200: 375 lbs (148 kg)
RQ-7B 200: 375 lbs (170 kg)
RQ-7B 200 re-wing: 460 lbs (209 kg)
Payload: High resolution day/night camera and thermal imager
Speed: Cruise: 90 kts/104 mph (167 km/h); Max: 110 kts/129 mph (203 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 15,000 feet (4,572 m)
RQ-7A 200: 4-5 hrs
RQ-7B 200: 6 hrs
RQ-7B 200 re-wing: 9 hrs
System Cost: $15.5 million (2011)
Deployed: 2003


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