speed, larger-payload Predator B (RQ-9). As is well known, both the Predator and the Global Hawk proved extremely valuable for conducting intelligent preparation of the battlefield and maintaining operational situation awareness during recent conflicts. Predator A has also been armed with Hellfire missiles (MQ-1) and fills a unique, ISR plus long-endurance strike platform role. An interesting historical note is that the Navy served as the procurement agency for early Predator acquisitions and still has two early systems in inventory. Nonetheless, the dominant Service in the long-endurance UAV operations has been the Air Force, and the issue for naval operations in the vehicle class is straightforward—should the Navy rely on the Air Force to provide land-based, long-endurance ISR support or are organic naval assets required? The Marine Corps does rely on the Air Force for this support. The programs described below are directly related to this issue (see the section “Conclusions and Recommendations” in Chapter 4) and are excerpted directly from the DOD report Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Roadmap 2002-2027.

RQ-4 Global Hawk

The Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high altitude, long endurance UAV designed to provide wide area coverage of up to 40,000 nm2 per day. It successfully completed its Military Utility Assessment, the final phase of its ACTD, in June 2000, and transitioned into Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) in March 2001. It takes off and lands conventionally on a runway and currently carries a 1950 lb payload for up to 32 hours. Global Hawk carries both an EO/IR sensor and a SAR with moving target indicator (MTI) capability, allowing day/night, all-weather reconnaissance. Sensor data is relayed over Common Data Link (CDL) line-of-sight (LOS) (X-band) and/or beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) (Ku-band SATCOM) data links to its Mission Control Element (MCE), which distributes imagery to up to seven theater exploitation systems. Residuals from the ACTD consisted of four aircraft and two ground control stations. Two more ACTD advanced aircraft will be delivered in early FY03 to support EMD and contingency operations. The Air Force has budgeted for 27 production aircraft in FY02-07, and plans a total fleet of 51. The Air Force plans to add other sensor capabilities in a spiral development process as this fleet is procured. Ground stations in theaters equipped with the Common Imagery Processor (CIP) will eventually be able to receive Global Hawk imagery directly. IOC for Imagery Intelligence (IMINT)-equipped aircraft is expected to occur in FY06. [p. 8]

MQ-1 Predator

The Air Force MQ-1 Predator was one of the initial ACTDs in 1994 and transitioned to an Air Force program in 1997. It takes off and lands conventionally on

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement