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Thursday, February 17, 2011

US$ 4,8 Billion for Unmanned Aerial Systems

The US Defence Budget for 2012 continues strong funding for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) that enhance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The base budget includes $4.8 billion to develop and procure additional Global Hawk Class (RQ-4), Predator Class (MQ-1/9), and other less expensive, low-altitude systems. The 2012 budget asks for $1.7 billion for the high-altitude Global Hawk class – the same as in 2010, $2.5 billion for Predator-class drones, a significant increase
up from the current $1.7 billion. But smaller UAS, such as the Army’s 3-foot, hand-launched Raven, are being cut from $1.2 billion in the last funding bill down to $600 million.
3 Global Hawk Class (RQ-4):  similar to the U-2 in mission and design – providing high-altitude, near-real-time, high-resolution ISR imagery.  The RQ-4 can survey large geographic areas with pinpoint accuracy over land and water. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) system is a maritime variant of Global Hawk.  
84 Predator Class (MQ-1/9):  operates over-the-horizon at medium altitude for long endurance. The MQ-1 (Predator for USAF and SOCOM, Gray Eagle for Army) has a primary mission of reconnaissance against perishable targets. The MQ-9 Reaper (USAF and SOCOM) has a hunter-killer primary mission.  
1308 smaller UAS: less-expensive low altitude systems – including some available to frontline commanders at battalion level or lower.

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