The first US Army unit to operate General Atomics' Warrior unmanned air vehicle will deploy to Iraq next month after being equipped with the initial "Warrior Alpha" version of the extended-range multipurpose UAV.
One of two interim versions introduced into the army programme, the Warrior A is a General Atomics I-Gnat ER UAV, and is being used to introduce army operators to the system ahead of delivery of the MQ-12 Warrior Block 0 air vehicle. The 1,070kg (2,350lb) gross-weight Warrior A has a 25,000ft (7,620m) operating ceiling and a 125km (67nm) range, whereas the 1,450kg Warrior Block 0 will have a heavy-fuel engine, a ceiling of 29,000ft and a 350km range. The Block 0 system is set to be fielded late next year.
The Block 0 is itself a step towards the full Warrior standard, with 1,630kg gross weight, a communications relay capability and the ability to carry four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The full standard also includes the tactical common datalink and the US Army's System One ground station, which are not due to become available until early 2008. All three standards offer a 30h endurance with a 36.3kg payload.