How Big Safari Armed Predator

AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies has released Predator’s Big Safari (caution, large-sized file), a paper that charts the vision and creativity that ultimately transformed the Predator remotely piloted aircraft from “an ISR platform of limited utility into a revolutionary weapon.” In 2000, the Air Force’s Big Safari rapid acquisition office undertook a developmental project to arm the then-designated RQ-1 reconnaissance platform. The armed Predator “was conceived and developed solely by the Air Force and primarily because of the vision of one Air Force leader”—retired Gen. John Jumper, writes Richard Whittle, who authored the paper. Jumper led Air Combat Command and was later Chief of Staff during this period. “Technologically, this is an Air Force success story, despite inaccurate assertions published elsewhere,” asserts Whittle.