Getting in the Game

With the shift to increased reliance on all-manner of unmanned aerial vehicles, more defense contractors are likely to take a run at current kingpins—General Atomics with its MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper and Northrop Grumman with its RQ-4 Global Hawk—to get in the game. USAF unveiled its long-range unmanned aerial systems flight plan last week and clearly sees UAVs as taking center stage, even potentially as a sixth-generation fighter. Boeing told Jane’s last week that it was in the midst of a “study phase” to undertake a next-generation replacement for the Reaper, which USAF has called MQ-X. General Atomics is planning a Reaper successor and, according to the Jane’s report, Northrop also may try to move into the hunter-killer UAV arena.