Meet the Avenger:
The Air Force just bought itself the next generation “hunter-killer” drone, and at nearly 16,000 pounds and 44 feet long the Avenger is now the largest UAV in the U.S. arsenal.
The more powerful ‘Predator C Plus made by General Atomics.
William Hennigan of the LA Times reports the $15 million drone is one of the models in consideration to replace the aging Predators and Reapers in use for the past several years (via Stars and Stripes).
Made by General Atomics, the Avenger is powered by a turbofan engine, has internal weapons storage, and an “S” shaped exhaust for minimal heat and radar signature.
Though it carries the Lynx Synthetic aperture radar and a version of the F-35’s electro-targeting system, the craft will use the same ground control as the MQ-9 drones currently in operation.
The new drone won’t be able to fly as long as the Reaper, 20 hours compared the the Reaper’s 30, but it will reach a top speed of 460 mph, more than 120 mph faster than its predecessor.
After reports earlier this month that the drone would be sent to Afghanistan, Air Force officials now say the Avenger may be years away from active duty.