Monday, December 20, 2021

Predator B Drone: As India Keenly Awaits World’s ‘Most Lethal UAV’, US Is Already Planning Its Replacement

When it comes to selecting and deploying a replacement for its Predator B unmanned aircraft, the service is studying a variety of interesting ideas and intends to take its time establishing a strategy for the future. The USAF is running a program called ‘MQ-Next’ to produce more advanced next-generation UAVs.

These autonomous aircraft are likely to be smaller, stealthier, and more lethal, and they could even fly in swarms to provide observation and surveillance in blanked areas. This program is expected to add more teeth to the USAF.

The Predator B drones are expected to be operational till 2031, giving ample time to the US Military to work on the new drone.

In an interview with the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Lt. Gen. David Nahom, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for Plans & Programs, said, “We have three hundred platforms [Predator B] to go into the middle 2030s, so we have time to proceed sensibly and look at alternative systems.”

The US Air Force had released a Request for Information (RFI) in March this year as it set out more requirements for the timely replacement of MQ-9 Reapers. The document released by the USAF had indicated that the envisioned future drone was to feature defensive counter-air capabilities to protect high-value manned aircraft like tankers, as well as the capability to fly red air aggressor missions, as previously reported by The Drive.

The continued focus on networking, which includes manned-unmanned teaming, multi-platform drone communication, and unmanned-unmanned or “drone-to-drone” synergy, is one of the most important areas of growth, according to Lt Gen David Nahom.

When the idea had first been publicized, The Drive had carried a report in 2020 stating that The Air Force’s next-generation combat drone effort was yet to be defined, but the service has sought out to its industry partners to see what they had to offer.

20/12/21 Sakshi Tiwari/EurAsianTimes

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