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US Army issues RFI for the MQ-1C revamp 40709152.

| 2015
Defence & Security News - (USA)
Title of the news

The United States Army has issued on 27 August a Request for Information for the potential revamp of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle data link equipment. The letter outlines the requirement for a kit that would include satellite, primary and back-up, communications and line of sight data links, modems, receivers, power amplifiers and other related equipment.

US Army Manned Unmanned Teaming
Source: US Army

The potential revamp is a result of the US Army’s effort to enhance its manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) and from the lessons learned while deploying the Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Afghanistan. These platforms cooperated with unmanned systems for more than half of their missions. Nevertheless, the Apache pilots did not receive the tactical picture in their cockpits but coordinated with the ground stations or waited for a higher command’s authorization to use them, instead.

The MQ-1C is the Army’s version of the Predator family of UAS, with its use seen increasing over time. Therefore, these systems cannot cover the full extent of the operational requirements. The Army’s plan is to equip as many UAVs as possible with a data link that will be allow communication in different frequencies.

Furthermore, according to a Wall Street Journal report, the Army has a plan to increase drone flights by 50% in the next four years. Operations in Afghanistan and mainly those against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, have taken most of the available means. With most of the burden falling on the USAF it is now time for the Army and the Special Operations Command to beef up their means. Based on the WSJ report, the Army will fly as many as 16 sorties per day by 2019.

The recent Letter of Intent calls the industry to provide quantity price breaks for an order of up to 180 units, with a starting delivery date around March 2018.

It is expected that the Army’s UAVs will bridge the gap created from the withdrawal of the OH-58 Kiowa/Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopters and further to that, they will probably be able to share their picture with the Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters.



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