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Unmanned Aircraft, Sky Warrior System (MQ-1C)

What is it?
The extended-range multi-purpose 'Sky Warrior' unmanned aircraft system (UAS-MQ-1C) is assigned to the Combat Aviation Brigades of the division and provides dedicated support to assigned fires brigades, battlefield surveillance brigades, brigade combat teams, and other Army and Joint Force units according to the division commander's priorities. The Sky Warrior UAS gives combatant commanders a much-improved, real-time response capability for long-dwell, wide-area reconnaissance, surveillance & target acquisition, communications relay, manned-unmanned teaming and target attack capability. The Sky Warrior addresses an ever increasing demand for greater range, altitude, endurance, and payload flexibility with the capability for mission change in flight. The Sky Warrior configuration, fielded in company sets, consists of 12 multi-role air vehicles, 5 universal ground control stations, 2 portable ground control stations, 5 tactical common data link (TCDL) ground data terminals, 2 portable TCDL ground data terminals, 1 ground satellite communications system, 4 automatic-takeoff-and-landing systems, and associated ground support equipment. The Sky Warrior UAS is manned by a company of 128 Soldiers, including a company commander, first sergeant, UAS warrant officer, air vehicle and mission payload operators, and enlisted maintenance and launch-and-recovery personnel.

What has the Army done?
The Army has, to date, followed the Department of Defense's integrated acquisition, technology, and logistics life-cycle management framework. The Sky Warrior requirement was put through the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System and approved through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council; the aircraft was later competitively selected via a source selection and evaluation board process. Currently, the Sky Warrior is in the process of system development and demonstration, having already been through the critical design review. Prototypes are being produced now to support a limited user test.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Sky Warrior development will continue for the foreseeable future, with the Army planning for 11 systems of 132 air vehicles. Projected activities include initial operational testing and evaluation in September 2011 and achievement of initial operational capability by 2013.

Why is this important to the Army?
The Sky Warrior UAS provides greater situational awareness for tactical commanders, enhancing their ability to rapidly assess and respond to threats and changing situations in operations across the spectrum of conflict. Commanders at the division level will have an organic UAS with the ability to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, communications relay, and attack missions.

 
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