Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS)
Remotley Piloted Air System (RPAS) are growing in importance and the RAF formed 39 Sqn at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada in 2007 to operate RAF MQ-9 PREDATOR B “REAPER” aircraft alongside the USAF squadrons. The UK has purchased a number of Reaper aircraft in support of UK ground forces in Afghanistan under the Reaper Urgent Operational Requirement (REAPER UOR). Reaper provides real-time video imagery to ground commanders, and has the capability to attack ground targets if required.
The RAF and UK MoD has also taken the first step towards the next generation of Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS). Project TARANIS, a joint MoD/BAESYSTEMS (plus other key UK industrial partners) venture, was unveiled in 2010 and a demonstrator is due to fly in 2011 in Woomera, Australia and it will be used to evaluate how RPAS/UCAS will contribute to the RAF’s future mix of aircraft.
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