The Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) has officially commenced operations in Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force, providing an enhanced capability to the International Security Assistance Force.
The Shadow 200 TUAS is designed to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operational support, enhancing the decision cycle of the support force element, through the employment of its sensors.
The Shadow 200 TUAS replaces the ScanEagle which has been in operation since mid 2007.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power said the ScanEagle has provided constant intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to ground elements 24/7 for nearly five years.
“During that time the ScanEagle has made significant contributions to the force protection and situational awareness of the Coalition Force soldier on the ground,” Lieutenant General Power said.
“This was an average of 22 hours per day over the four years and 10 month period – a tremendous effort. Approximately 180 ADF personnel deployed in support of ScanEagle, with the bulk from 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment. Other contributing units include 16 Air Defence Regiment, Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation, 1st Topographical Survey Squadron and 16 Aviation Brigade.
“ScanEagle has been the vehicle for the Australian Army to develop its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capability and the Army is now taking the next step by employing the Shadow 200 TUAS,” Lieutenant General Power added.
Since being deployed to Afghanistan mid 2007 the ScanEagle has flown approximately 32,000 hours in Afghanistan and over 6,200 missions in support of the Reconstruction Task Force, Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force, Mentoring Task Force, Combined Team – Uruzgan and the Special Operations Task Group.