A Melding Of Metal

Within the next few months, the Air Force and Army are expected to have a coordinated memorandum of agreement for a common airframe for their respective Predator and Warrior UAVs, says Dyke Weatherington, deputy for the Unmanned Aerial Systems Planning Task Force in the Pentagon’s acquisition office. The result will be a single production line that will build the airframe, the propulsion, and the avionics to support both programs, he said Jan. 9 while speaking at a Marcus Evans-sponsored defense industry conference in Washington, D.C. Acquisition costs will be reduced and the contractor won’t have to maintain two separate lines and two sets of tooling, he noted, citing the advantages. Bringing the two UAV programs closer together was one decision resulting from last year’s contentious debate over whether the Air Force should become the executive agency for medium and high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles.