General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has successfully completed the second demonstration of Predator B Electronic attack capability, as part of the US Marine Corps’ (USMC’s) Weapons and Tactics Instructor course held at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona, US.
During the testing, which follows the success of previous efforts between the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman Corporation and GA-ASI, the Predator B remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) has been integrated into a Marine Aviation Command and Control (C2) network.
The integration allows control of the electronic warfare (EW) payload of the aircraft and other assets to deliver effects across the Electro-magnetic Spectrum (EMS).
The team exercised the C2 capability from the Cyber / Electronic Warfare Coordination Cell located at MCAS Yuma and addressed simulated targets, which were placed hundreds of miles north at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
Powered by a single Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, Predator B is a long-endurance, medium-high-altitude RPA, designed to provide long-endurance, persistent surveillance / strike capability.
Currently, the US Marine Corps is analysing the jamming data aimed to quantify the EW effectiveness.
Capable of staying airborne for up to 27 hours at 50,000ft altitude, the multimission system is currently operational with the USAF and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) as MQ-9 Reaper and with the Italian Air Force as MQ-9.
In addition, the RPA provides situational awareness for troops and supports combat missions focusing on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and precision strike on time-sensitive targets.
The aircraft also offers close air support (CAS), signals intelligence (SIGINT), forward air control (FAC), improvised explosive device (IED) detection, bomb damage assessment (BDA) and now airborne electronic attack.
Image: MQ-9 Reaper during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Gerald L Nino.