Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS)
Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) are growing in importance and the RAF formed 39 Sqn at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada two years ago to operate US-owned Predator aircraft alongside USAF squadrons. The UK intends purchasing a number of Predator B aircraft in support of UK ground forces in operational theatres. Predator provides real-time video imagery to ground commanders, and has the capability to attack ground targets if required.
The RAF has also taken the first step towards developing its own pilotless combat aircraft. Project “Taranis” was announced last year and a demonstrator is due to fly by 2010 and be used evaluate how RPAS will contribute to the RAF’s future mix of aircraft.