The US air force began defining requirements for new shock unmanned aerial vehicles, which ultimately will have to replace the aging MQ-9 Reaper. This, according to Aviation Week, said the Deputy Minister of the U.S. air force procurement, technology and logistics will Roper. According to him, among the most important requirements is the reduction of drone operators and the number of analysts involved in the analysis of intelligence information.
Currently, the U.S. air force experiencing a serious shortage of operators of unmanned aerial vehicles. Experts are reluctant to such contracts as the work by the operator of the UAV entails very long hours, high level of responsibility and a relatively small payment. As one of the solutions to this problem, the U.S. military is considering the possibility of reducing teams of drone operators by half.
At present the control of a Reaper drone meet two people: the pilot and the operator of the payload and weapons. In the ground control station for better interaction space drone operators are placed side-by-side. In 2015, the U.S. air force considered the possibility of redesign of ground stations so that one device could control one person.
However, the reduction in the number of operators needed to control the drones, does not solve the other problems. Each drum machine MQ-9 Reaper in each flight broadcasts and records a tremendous amount of intelligence, viewing and processing of which is performed by analysts. These specialists are part of the U.S. air force is also lacking.
The owls Roeper perspective shock UAV which will replace the Reaper must have a high enough autonomy that the military could use to analyze intelligence information is much less specialists. At the same time to control each new unit would require only one operator, which would control not only the flight but also the operation of on-Board sensors and weapons.
Thus another requirement to the prospective device military put its relatively low cost, to the loss of a drone in combat was not financially sensitive. What value is it, Roper said. The cost of one drone MQ-9 Reaper is currently about $ 16 million.
Finally, the US air force is considering the possibility of equipping the prospective impact of the drone missiles of class “air-air”. These munitions, the apparatus can use not only to engage air targets, but also for self-defense. Previously, the U.S. air force released a request for information about drones, who will be replaced in the army MQ-9 2031.
Strike UAV MQ-9 entered service with the US air force in 2007. The military uses these devices for reconnaissance, intelligence and surveillance, as well as to strike ground targets. To date, the program Reaper was built about 160 units.
MQ-9 has a length of 11 meters, a height of 3.8 meters and a wing span of 20 meters. The drone can fly at speeds of 300 kilometers per hour and its range is 1.2 thousand kilometers. The device is able to remain airborne up to 14 hours. Reaper has seven points of suspension for missiles and bombs weighing up to 1.7 tons.