The US Navy and Naval Surface Warfare Center has selected Vanguard Defense Industries-built ShadowHawk unmanned aerial system (UAS) to participate in the Stiletto maritime demonstration programme (SMDP).
Funded by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office, Emerging Capabilities Division, the SMDP is aimed to help developers accelerate delivery of new maritime technologies for the armed services.
The first capability demonstration of the SMDP was conducted for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, in January 2013.
NECC’s deputy assistant chief of staff for strategy and technology Dale Shiflett said that the SMDP has enabled NECC sailors to look at possibilities for new and improved technologies for military.
"Warfighting needs are rapidly changing, and our interest is in looking at mature technologies and future capabilities that could be transitioned to fill an operational need sooner than later," he said.
The US Navy will also collaborate with the UK Defence Science & Technology Laboratory to assess the ShadowHawk’s capabilities during the demonstration.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rapid Fielding Rapid Reaction Technology director Glenn Fogg said: "The programme is open to other DoD commands, government agencies, industry, or academic institutions that have a need to observe or demonstrate their technologies underway in as relevant an environment as possible."
Equipped with a Mode C transponder for connectivity to Air Traffic Control, the UAS can gather high-resolution images and data to support national security interests, inspect vital natural resources and infrastructure as well as assess disaster damage.
Capable of fully refuelling in less than five minutes, the ShadowHawk UAS has been designed to fly during day and night in adverse weather conditions for up to three hours at a time.
Image: The US Navy’s high-speed experimental boat Stiletto refuels for further observations. Photo: courtesy of US Navy/Released.