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RAF Wants British Weapons for Protector Fleet
The UK Royal Air Force remains confident that it will introduce British-made weapons onto its future Protector unmanned air vehicle, although a final decision on this element of the programme has yet to be made.
It plans to integrate the Raytheon Paveway IV laser-guided bomb and MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missile on its future fleet of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Certifiable Predator B (CPB) – two weapons that it has failed to introduce onto the current MQ-9 Reaper.
Brimstone testing on the Reaper concluded in January 2014, with a separate plan to perform similar evaluations using the Paveway IV, but neither munition was ever deployed on the UAV.
The Block 1 MQ-9 Reaper operated by the RAF is identical to that flown by the US Air Force, which is armed with the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile.
But, says Air Cdre Ian Gale, assistant chief of staff for command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the RAF’s air command, with the UK the launch customer for the CPB, it is free to set the configuration.
“Why wouldn’t we do this if it is possible? We believe they are outstanding weapons,” Gale said, speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s UAV conference on 3 October, although he added that “the final work on the weapon [selection] is yet to be done”.
The RAF is also considering using the CPB in a maritime patrol role to complement its ordered fleet of manned Boeing P-8 Poseidons.
Although General Atomics is developing a sonobuoy capability for the CPB, Gale says it will not pursue this option at present: “Today we see value in its radar doing maritime patrol alongside the [P-8].”
He says that it is too early to determine operational specifics, but collaboration between the Poseidon and CPB is a possibility.
Overland testing of the sonobuoy datalink is expected to take place this month, General Atomics says, from the company’s Gray Butte flight operations centre in California, using an MQ-9 Reaper owned by the manufacturer.
Contry: Great Britain
2016-12-01Last week a delegation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle experts from the United Kingdom met with industry leaders in California to highlight the United Kingdom’s regulatory leadership. The United Kingdom has sophisticated regulations governing the use of Unman
Last week a delegation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle experts from the United Kingdom met with industry leaders in California to highlight the United Kingdom’s regulatory leadership.
2016-10-19Industry Presents UAV Upgrades to UK Royal Navy
As the Royal Navy moves towards retiring its only unmanned air vehicle from service in 2017, industry has presented a number of upgrades to UK-operated systems to try and tempt the service into continuing operations with such technology.
2016-08-28Student Designs Communications Drone for Disaster Relief
A college student at Staffordshire University in the UK has designed a disaster relief drone that will set up an emergency communications network.
2016-08-19New England Utility Flying High Over Drone Test
New England’s largest power provider may soon join the growing number of power utilities using drones to keep watch over their power lines.
2016-08-18Live Maps for Unmanned Air Systems in UK
Createc has been funded by the UK Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) to work on a software solution that can be easily incorporated into existing unmanned air systems (UAS) using only on-board passive sensors and a previous map.
2016-08-08British Firms Launch New Inspection Drone Solutions
One of the UK’s leading industrial training companies is joining forces with a key player in the growing construction/inspection drone industry.
2016-07-05Thales Gets UK £80M Watchkeeper Support Contract
The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded Thales a £80 million contract to deliver Support to the British Army’s combat proven Watchkeeper Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
2016-07-03UK to Consider Training Reaper Pilots
As the number of slots available to foreign allies at the US Air Force’s unmanned air vehicle training school continues to be limited, the UK is considering establishing its own domestic capability, ahead of a planned acquisition of a new fleet of remotely piloted aircraft.
2016-06-26British Police Ramp Up Drone Purchases
British police agencies are keeping the “Game of Drones” alive and well as more departments deploy UAVs to fight crime and search for missing persons.
2016-06-21Leading UK Energy Firm Signs Up for UAS Inspections
Cyberhawk Innovations has secured significant works with FTSE 100 listed SSE Plc, one of the UK’s largest energy companies. The campaign, which began in May this year, will see Cyberhawk carry out close visual inspections of more than 600 blades using UAVs. Work will be completed across wind turbines at various SSE windfarms throughout Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop
2012-04-05 Hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Flies ScanEagle