The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential $1bn sale of Predator B remotely piloted aircraft to the UK.
Under the sale, the UK requested up to 26 Predator B aircraft, as well as related equipment, training, and support.
The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI)-built aircraft is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads.
The aircraft features a detect and avoid (DAA) system including space, weight, and power provisions to enable the retrofitting of an airborne due regard radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace, GA-ASI said in a statement.
The sale will also cover 12 advanced ground control stations (GCSs); four new launch and recovery element GCSs; four upgrades to existing Blk 15 launch and recovery element GCSs; 25 multi-spectral targeting systems; 25 AN/APY-8 Lynx IIe Block 20A synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicators (SAR/GMTI) and 86 embedded global positioning system/inertial guidance units (EGIs).
The UK also seeks to receive communications equipment, identification friend or foe (IFF) equipment; weapons installation kits; TPE331-10YGD engines; unique and common spares package; support equipment; US Air Force technical orders and country specific technical orders.
Additionally, the deal includes contractor logistics support for two (optional three) years; contractor provided aircraft components, spares, and accessories; personnel training; and other related elements of logistical and programme support.
The procurement of Predator B will help the UK to meet current and future threats by providing improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage that enhances homeland security, promotes increased battlefield situational awareness, augments combat search and rescue, and provides ground troop support.
The aircraft will also be used to support the UK’s armed forces and coalition forces engaged in current and future peacekeeping, peace-enforcing, counter-insurgent, and counterterrorism operations.
The UK already operates the armed remotely piloted aircraft, MQ-9 Reaper, and it will have no difficulty transitioning to the Certifiable Predator B.