USAF draws up unmanned system plan

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Initial capability requirements for a future multi-mission unmanned air system are being drawn up by the US Air Force, based on industry responses to a wide-ranging request for information circulated in 2007.

The multi-mission UAS could replace USAF General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper armed UAVs. Concepts include stealthy unmanned surveillance/strike aircraft with morphing wings, combining high speed and long endurance.

The RFI, issued in April 2007, drew about 280 responses, Col Jim Firth, deputy director requirements at Air Combat Command, told an IDGA unmanned air vehicles conference in Washington DC. "We are working through them, inventorying the capabilities, looking for the art of the possible," he says.

ACC is drawing up an initial capabilities document, the first step to a formal procurement programme.