Home' Army News : November 24th 2011 Contents Life Insurance
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Army November 24, 2011
HE first Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned
Aerial System (TUAS) Task Group is set to
deploy to Afghanistan in late December.
Shadow Group One (SH1) completed its
10-week pre-deployment mission rehearsal training
and crew certification exercise on November 18 at
Evetts Airfield in the Woomera training area.
SH1’s personnel were drawn from the ranks of 20
STA Regt and battery commander Maj Derek Freeman
said the training exercise had three aims.
“Our training and mission rehearsal exercise began
at Enoggera on September 12 and ran for four weeks,
where our Shadow air vehicle operators, payload
operators, maintainers and mission command staff
refreshed their basic skills,” Maj Freeman said.
“This training culminated with a command, control,
computer and information systems exercise and a week
of flying training in the Shadow simulators.”
On October 9, SH1 deployed to Evetts Airfield at
Woomera, where they set up their base and conducted
the first official Shadow 200 flight in Australia on
“We focused on launch and recovery operations,
building up the length of flights from 1.5 hours with
the first flight to more than five hours,” Maj Freeman
“During flights we
also flew simulated
missions using the
Shadow’s cameras and
SH1 will deploy
with all four major
components of the
Shadow 200 system
and a maintenance
include a ground con-
trol station (GCS),
where Shadow air
vehicle operators and
payload operators fly
and control the air-
craft’s sensors, a mis-
sion command cen-
tre, a catapult aircraft
launcher and an auto-
mated landing system.
The Task Group
will be based at Tarin
Kot and replace the
ScanEagle detachment and continue to provide an
intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recon-
naissance (ISTAR) function, using an advanced camera
and sensor suite.
During missions SH1 will also continue to build
on the force protection work ScanEagle detachments
have provided to Australian and coalition troops on the
ground in Afghanistan since 2007.
Even though the Shadow 200 is a newer TUAS
compared to Scan Eagle, Maj Freeman said it was diffi-
cult to make a comparison between the two aircraft and
“They are two different systems and to compare
them would be like trying to compare apples and
oranges,” Maj Freeman said.
“The Shadow carries a more comprehensive pack-
When Maj Freeman found out the Army would be
purchasing the Shadow system in 2008 he was excited
at the prospect of working with it.
“I was attached to an American headquarters and I
saw what it could do for a manoeuvre force [in com-
bat],” he said.
“It was definitely a leap in the right direction and
I was 100 per cent supportive of its introduction into
One of the Shadow 200 operators who will deploy
to Afghanistan soon is Gnr Tori Ritchie who has been a
member of 20 STA Regt for two years.
“It’s my first deployment to Afghanistan and it
took me five months of training in the United States to
become qualified on the aircraft,” Gnr Ritchie said.
“The training was broken into four phases, with the
first being a ground flight school, where we learnt the
basics of aerodynamics, then the second was learning
how to set up and pack up the system.
“The final two phases were simulator flying and
then flying the Shadow on practice missions.”
Her role in Afghanistan will be personally signifi-
cant to her as her partner returned from a deployment
there earlier this year.
“I can’t wait to support the boys on the ground as
I have a partner in the infantry and he returned from
Afghanistan earlier in the year,” Gnr Ritchie said.
“I know how much the ScanEagle helped them and
I know how much more Shadow can do for troops on
KEEPING THE SHADOW IN THE AIR
FOR the Shadow to fly it doesn’t
only need air vehicle operators
and payload operators to keep it
in the air; it also needs maintain-
ers to fix and service its airframe
Cpl Sean Thompson is one of
the Shadow technicians and ser-
vice supervisors who will work in
one of two shifts of maintainers.
His previous postings
had him fixing and maintain-
ing Chinook and Black Hawk
engines, hydraulic and landing
“It’s a bit different working
on a TUAS, as they are much
smaller and simpler aircraft to
maintain,” Cpl Thompson said.
“I joined 20 STA Regt in 2007
and I’ve also worked on the Sky
Lark and ScanEagle aircraft.
“It’s a great job working on
TUAS and I think they are the
future of military and civilian
aviation due to the cost of the
aircraft, fuel and manpower
needed to maintain them. They
have tremendous potential.”
His role overseas will have
him wearing four hats, which
include fixing and maintaining
the aircraft, preparing them
before they are launched and
recovering them after they’ve
SH1’s deployment is due to
last more than six months.
works on a Shadow
200 at Woomera.
Photo by Sgt Andrew
and I saw
what it could
20 STA Regt
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