CCAD Sells Its First UAV Shadow

by Brigitte Rox, CCAD Public Affairs

John Herzer, holds out an inlet guide vane

CCAD artisans unpack their first UAS Shadow. Photo by Kiana Allen. RELEASED).

Corpus Christi, TX (June 6, 2013) – Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) hit a major milestone in Army Aviation by selling its first-ever unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV), May 16.

CCAD is now upgrading several RQ-7B Shadow Tactical UAVs, manufactured by AAI, for the Army and Marine Corps. They inducted their first Shadow into their pilot modification program back on October 1, 2012 to ensure that the Department of
Defense gets their UAVs on time.

This latest endeavor is a big step for CCAD, which has always been known as the Army’s only industrial base dedicated to helicopter repair, maintenance and overhaul. In fact, it had been decades since the depot had seen its last fixed-wing
aircraft.

Inducting the aircraft into a helicopter facility took a period of adjustment for the artisans that would work on the Shadow. “We’ve encountered new challenges with this platform,” said Sam Sinjlawi, CCAD’s Shadow lead. The depot had to bring down UAS experts to train the artisans.

With one UAV under their belts, CCADers are starting to find ways to reduce the time and cost required to modify each system. “The first induction was a lot like using training wheels, so now we’re trying to knock down production time,”
Sinjlawi said.

The Shadow program takes CCAD into a new territory to evolve with the Army’s latest operational environment and technological capabilities. The Shadow program is expected to bring more UAS work to South Texas as the next chapter of
Army Aviation increases the use of UAS on the battlefield.

“The RQ-7B Shadow upgrade…includes enhancements to every part of the system, from the aircraft itself to the ground and support systems,” says Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid of AAI UAS. “It represents all the
agility and performance needed for current mission requirements, as well as robust capabilities to meet future needs. As a result, the Shadow system will perform even more reliably in core areas including intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance; target designation; communications relay; and battlefield damage assessment; but it also will excel in new missions such as manned/unmanned teaming.”

Known for their helicopter support and unique joint force capabilities, CCAD is a step ahead of DoD’s response to budget cuts by focusing on a forward-thinking cost-conscious culture. The depot wants to sustain the Shadow fleet through repair
and modification, a move that could reduce Department of Defense (DoD) costs while maintaining operational strength for the warfighter.

UAV Landing

A Shadow 200 RQ-7B UAV lands after completing a flight to support troops outside Forward Operating Base Kalsu. Author unknown.

 

Designated a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for rotary wing aircraft, Corpus Christi Army Depot ensures aviation readiness through overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, testing, recapitalization, and modernization of helicopters, engines and components. This effort includes world-wide on-site field maintenance teams, analytical crash investigations and chemical material process facilities. CCAD serves as a depot training base for active duty Army, National Guard, and reserve units. CCAD, as South Texas' largest industrial employer, employs more than 5500 personnel and contractors providing an overall economic impact of more than $1.14 Billon to the local community.