Taking a Closer Look

The latest block of the MQ-1 unmanned aerial vehicle, dubbed the MQ-1C, is now heading into flight-testing, according to a senior Air Force official. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is developing the MQ-1C for the Army under the Warrior UAV program and the first air vehicle of the type, a proof-of-concept model, is heading into flight tests. But the Air Force has also purchased two MQ-1C Predator developmental units to evaluate and see if they meet USAF needs, Martha Evans, director for information dominance programs in the Air Force’s acquisition office, said on Jan. 29 during a meeting with reporters. The MQ-1C has improvements, such as a new engine, over previous Predators, the need for which continues to grow. The Air Force expects to receive its two air vehicles in July and August, she said. A decision would come from each service sometime in the next 12 to 18 months on whether it is actually going to procure the production version of the C model, she said. “The MQ-1C could be a common platform,” Evans said, noting, however, that there have been no decisions made yet. The two services have been looking into how to make their respective C models as similar as possible and are already working toward establishing a common production line for Warrior and Predator.