Putting weapons on UAVs "is a fait accompli," says Raytheon's Robert Francois, vice president of advanced missile systems and unmanned systems.
With several unmanned systems already armed and militaries seeking to ultimately arm many more, he says Raytheon is positioning itself to fill in the gaps in the market by designing weapons with UAVs in mind.
The company is focusing on weapons for the Tier III, Tier II and small tactical aircraft with three new munitions, Francios says.
The Small Tactical Munition is about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter, 61cm long and weighs in at 5.9kg (13lbs) with GPS/inertial navigational system (INS) and a semi-active laser (SAL) seeker for targeting personnel and light vehicles.
The 15kg Griffin is a short-range, air-to-surface missile is tube launched, also featuring GPS/INS and SAL guidance and is smaller and lighter than the Hellfire.
Filling in the 45kg gap is Monsoon, for targeting buildings, trucks and personnel, with GPS/INS, optional SAL and an 18kg warhead.
Though the aircraft may be unmanned, Francois believes a man will stay in the loop when it comes to matters of weaponzation. "For the major target set, I think there will always be a man in the loop approving weapons release," he says.