Next generation drone will carry more ordinance and have more time over targets
Britain will double its fleet of armed surveillance drones with a new upgraded generation of unmanned aircraft able to fly for nearly twice as long, laden with more bombs, missiles and sensors, the MoD has disclosed.The drones are beginning to get much more sophisticated. When they were first used in the war with the radical Islamists I compared them to the early biplanes of World War I. With extended range and carrying more weapons they still have not maxed out their potential but they are an even greater threat to the enemy.
The 79ft wingspan, remotely piloted planes will be able to circle over and spy on targets for nearly two days, while sophisticated new flight computers mean they will be able to fly in bad weather and survive ice, lightning and bird strikes.
The new General Atomics Certifiable Predator B, which is expected to be named Protector when used by the RAF from the end of this decade, is likely to be at the forefront of spying and air strike campaigns against militant and terror groups such as Islamic State.
First details of the new aircraft have been disclosed as defence officials signed a £415m contract with the Pentagon to buy 20 of the new drones to replace the RAF’s 10 existing MQ-9 Reapers.