Predator Cessna Upgraded

A Civil Air Patrol Cessna 206T received an upgraded sensor suite to mimic an MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft for pre-deployment combat training, the Air Force Research Laboratory announced. “The Enhanced Surrogate Predator 3 is a redesign of the first two surrogate Predators, which had a wing-mounted turret,” AFRL program manager J. P. Sena said in a release, April 22. Upgrades include a sensor turret that retracts into the Cessna’s belly to both improve field of view and reduce aerodynamic drag when not in use, as well as a more ergonomic and capable operator’s station. “Troops training for deployment get experience with what they will see overseas,” added Sena. “Our government saves millions by keeping the [RPA] assets in theater,” while CAP is able to use the sensor-equipped Cessnas for disaster relief, homeland security, and search and rescue missions as well as combat exercises such as Green Flag, he said.