UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: U.S. Army Retires Its Oldest UAS

December 24, 2015 at 1:26 am Leave a comment

Home from the Hill.

Soldiers from the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion with a Hunter unmanned aircraft system, ( UAS).  The Hunter flew its final mission at Fort Hood. (Photo Credit: Dave Conrad, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

Soldiers from the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion with a Hunter unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The Hunter flew its final mission at Fort Hood. 
(Photo by Dave Conrad, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

The U.S. Army is retiring it’s oldest unmanned aircraft, the RQ/MQ-5 Hunter unmanned aerial system (UAS) fleet after 20 years of service.

The final flight was at Fort Hood, Texas, the Army announced December 21.

The Army’s first UAS, the Hunter was first fielded in 1996. It was deployed to support NATO missions in Kosovo between 1999 and 2002, and deployed again at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, according to IHS Jane’s 360 website. It continued working in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years.

Mostly employed as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) asset, Hunter can be armed with GBU-44/B Viper Strike glide bomb and the earlier Viper Strike direct attack munition, Jane’s noted.

The medium-altitude RQ-5 Hunter was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and manufactured by TRW, which is now part of Northrop Grumman. Hunter is being replaced by the General Atomics MQ-1C Grey Eagle, according to UPI.com.

In 2016, the 15th Military Intelligence Battalion will receive the Gray Eagle UAS, according to the unit’s flight operators. Gray Eagle can fly for 25 hours, achieve speeds up to 167 knots and reach altitudes up to 29,000 feet, according to a fact sheet from General Atomics.

An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft makes its way down an airfield in Iraq in 20xx.  (U.S. Army photo by Specialist Roland Hale)

An MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS makes its way down an airfield in Iraq in 2013.
(U.S. Army photo by Specialist Roland Hale)

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, News Developments, Technology, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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