Bigger, badder Predator may be in the works

The Advanced Predator C Avenger could end up being the template for future unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Air Force is considering creating an advanced Predator C Avenger unmanned aerial system – with the help of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems – for combat use, reports Aviation Week.

Overseen by Big Safari, the Air Force’s rapid acquisition organization, the Predator C project was in the works even before the RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle crash in Iran earlier this month, and may end up being the template for future next generation UAVs, according to the article.

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The evolution of the Predator C would likely include additional and more sophisticated sensors, including Goodrich’s MS-177, as well as full-motion video, such as that on the RQ-170 used to gather data on Osama bin Laden, and signals intelligence, Aviation Week said.

In a tough budget environment, building on the already developed Predator C would also relieve some of the funding pressures the military might face if it attempted to create a new UAV from the ground up, the article said.