The US Air Force has awarded a $58 million contract to the Raytheon Company for work on updated/new targeting systems of unmanned aerial vehicles, specifically the Reaper (Predator B) programme.
The contract is aimed at improving the UAVs surveillance capabilities.
Last year, the US Army had selected Raytheon to provide it with a common sensor payload (CSP) for manned and unmanned aircraft.
The Reaper is a derivative of the combat proven Predator A and became operational in 2007 when it began flying combat missions over Afghanistan. This Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV has an operational ceiling of 50,000-ft and a higher cruising speed. It can cover a larger area, under all weather conditions and carry payloads of more than 1.5 tons.
It is powered by a single Honeywell TP331-10 engine that produces 950 shp and provides a maximum airspeed of 260 knots, with a cruise speed for maximum endurance of 150-170 knots.