With MQ-1 Predator UAVs fading from the marketplace as advanced customers turn to the MQ-9 Reaper, General Atomics is moving to broaden the type’s appeal. At IDEX 2011, they announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the UAE’s International Golden Group to offer an RQ-1 “Predator XP” variant to the Emirates, with US government permission to broaden that customer base to “other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.”
General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator UAV has achieved iconic status around the world, but export success has been limited. The Predator XP is designed to break the logjam that has stymied wider sales, and at IDEX 2013, the logjam finally broke. So, what makes the “XP” version different? And why was it necessary in the first place?