U.S. Army Version of Predator UAV Rushed Into Service

AIN Defense Perspective » June 16, 2008
...
June 16, 2008, 11:55 AM

Two General Atomics Sky Warrior UAVs have been operating in Iraq since late April, well ahead of the drone’s formal system design and development (SDD) schedule. The Sky Warrior, a new version of the Predator-A, won the U.S. Army’s extended-range/multipurpose (ER/MP) competition. The substantial changes include a Thielert heavy-fuel engine, an autoland system and an improved, more mobile ground station. The ER/MP program is controversial in the Pentagon, and especially within the U.S. Air Force, since the Army has stated a requirement for no fewer than 45 systems of 12 aircraft each and it intends to operate them as high as 30,000 feet using enlisted personnel as non-rated remote pilots. The two aircraft now in Iraq are “Block 0” versions that General Atomics said were produced quickly to meet urgent operational needs. A further five will be deployed before year-end. Previously, the Army bought 16 smaller I-Gnat ER UAVs from General Atomics for service in Iraq staring in 2004. General Atomics is producing 17 Sky Warrior Block 1 aircraft for the SDD phase of the ER/MP, and is expecting the limited rate initial production decision to be made as early as this summer.

FILED UNDER: 
Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.

 
X