Skip to comments.New Predator Variants, New UAV Roles
Posted on 02/26/2010 9:02:05 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The two latest variants of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle for the U.S. Army and Customs and Border Protection Service will move closer to initial deployment following the completion of key tests in California this month.
Weapons tests of the Armys MQ-1C Sky Warrior, a heavily modified derivative of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) Predator A, were successfully completed following the last live firings of nine Hellfire P+ missiles. GA-ASI Chairman and CEO Neal Blue says a post-test review identified minor technical and desired fixes, adding that an updated software release will be verification-tested in March from our El Mirage flight operations facility.
The MQ-1C, soon to be redesignated the Gray Eagle currently also known as the Armys extended range/multipurpose (ER/MP) unmanned aircraft system is being fast-tracked into service with newly formed quick reaction capability (QRC) units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blue says the updated release will be used to support soldier training prior to a limited user test scheduled for May , and subsequent fielding slated for July .
The weapons tests, which began at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Center at China Lake in late November, are part of preparations to arm aircraft for a second quick-reaction unit, QRC-2. The first QRC unit was created during Defense Secretary Robert Gatess intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance surge and is deployed in Iraq with four unarmed aircraft providing long-endurance, wide-area reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and communications relay capability.
(Excerpt) Read more at aviationweek.com ...
This is just the beginning.