A solicitation issued last week for a new unmanned aerial vehicle in the Predator class is not so much aimed at finding a next-generation version of the Predator, but at locating anyone else who would be willing to build vehicles like it, says Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, USAF’s military acquisition chief. He said Friday that the Air Force wants to crank out Predators faster than General Atomics Aeronautical Systems can make them. The service asked some of the big aerospace companies to license-build Predator or come up with something similar, but so far they have declined, saying that the systems aren’t expensive enough to warrant their investment, especially if they’re competing on price with a small, low-overhead company like General Atomics. The newest General Atomics UAV, the MQ-9 Reaper, costs about $10 million apiece.
Air Force Global Strike Command has finished collecting a second round of test samples looking for hazardous chemicals at its three intercontinental ballistic missile bases and plans to expand testing to Vandenberg Space Force Base early next year, officials said Dec. 1.