$41.4M for 5 New Predator B UAVs
General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc. in San Diego, CA received a $41.4 million fixed-price incentive firm contract for the manufacture, test, and delivery of five MQ-9 Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and associated equipment. Associated equipment for this order will include initial spares, ground support equipment, pack-up kits, and Ku SATCOM antennas. Solicitations began November 2004, negotiations were complete in December 2005, and work will be complete by March 2008. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract. (FA8620-05-G-3028 Order 0004).
DID has covered the Predator B before, which is actually a new unmanned aircraft that adds hunter-killer capabilities at the price of some endurance. It will complement the existing MQ-1 Predator. StrategyPage writes of the Predator B:
“The “B” model has less endurance (24 hours compared to 40 hours for the A model), but carries more munitions (1.7 tons). Weapons carried include Hellfire missiles, and 250 or 500 pound smart bombs. Typically, the Predator B will go into action carrying 16 Hellfire missiles. The Predator B is meant to be a hunter-killer UAV. It will go into action looking for targets it can immediately attack. The Predator B has been undergoing tests in combat zones for over five years.”
General Atomics’ unique “build it and they will come” approach means these aircraft may well have been built already.