Textron's New UAV

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Textron announced this week it has agreed to buy United Industrial Corp. for $1.1 billion, giving Textron responsibility for the Shadow tactical unmanned aerial system currently working in Iraq and Afghanistan, and providing the company a fresh card to play in the UAV market. "This industry is still in the very early stages, but at some point most of the military's surveillance aircraft and even many of its fighter aircraft will be unmanned," Paul Nisbet, aerospace and defense analyst for JSA Research Inc. in Newport, R.I., told The Boston Globe. Aircraft like the Shadow are attracting attention from various agencies interested in expanding their use to include domestic roles, perhaps with homeland security. Acquisition of the product puts Textron in competition with Northrop Grumman Corp. and others for contracts in related fields and brings 2,500 more employees under Textron's umbrella, supporting 74 Shadow systems sold to the Army, National Guard units and Marines.