Replacing a Legend

The Air Force has begun to examine technologies and capabilities that it wants in the platform that will eventually replace it MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, says a top service acquisition official. Air Combat Command currently is shaping the parameters of an analysis of alternatives for the notional next-generation UAV that is slated to kick off in Fiscal 2010, said Martha Evans, who oversees USAF’s information dominance portfolio. Speaking with reporters on Jan. 29, Evans said the AOA is the next step in the process of determining the Predator follow-on. USAF completed a study in February 2007 that looked at where UAV capabilities should go for the future, she said. Thereafter, the Air Force Research Lab put out a request for information that solicited more than 200 responses for technologies that could be ready for systems by 2012. Technology areas included in the AFRL’s request were new propulsion technologies, communications systems, data links, and airspace integration, and collision avoidance technology, she said.