Hunter UAV Program


General

The Hunter Joint Tactical UAV was originally developed to provide both ground and maritime forces with near-real-time IMINT within a 200-km direct radius of action, extensible to 300+ km by using another Hunter as an airborne relay. Hunter can operate from unimproved air strips to support ground tactical force commanders. Prime contractor is TRW, San Diego, CA.

 

 SUBSYSTEMS

8 Air Vehicles
4 Remote Video Terminals
3 Ground Control/Mission Planning Stations
2 Ground Data Terminals
1 Launch & Recovery System
1 Mobile Maintenance Facility

KEY OPERATIONAL FACTORS

Sensors: EO and IR
Deployment: Multiple* C-130 sorties
Radius: 267 km (144 nm)
Endurance: 11.6 hrs
Max Altitude: 4.6 km (15,000 ft)
Cruise Speed: >165 km/hr (>89 kts)

*Depends on equipage and duration

Flight Dataa

· Flights / Hours

FY96

350 / 1,051

Total to Date

1,575 / 4,590

Funding ($M):

Procurement (Defense-wide)

Opns & Maintenance (Army)

FY96

38.0b

FY97

 

12.0c

Program Status

Following an October 1995 JROC recommendation, in January 1996 the USD(A&T) decided to letHunter's contract expire after delivery of its seven LRIP systems. Currently, the Army is operating a single Hunter system at Ft Hood, TX, to support operations, concept development, and continuation training; additional assets support initial operator and maintainer training at the Joint UAV Training Center (JUAVTC) at Ft Huachuca, AZ, and interoperability, test and evaluation work at the Joint UAV Systems Integration Laboratory (SIL) at Huntsville, AL. All other Hunter equipment remained in Army storage.

Hunter resumed flight operations in February 1996 at Ft Hood and in April at Ft Huachuca. As of 30September, it has flown 1,050+ hours in support of Army and joint operations and training, and payload testing. In April, a Hunter demonstrated a VHF/UHF radio relay capability between two ground stations. In July, Hunters deployed from Ft Hood to support tactical warfighter training at the National Training Center (NTC), Ft Irwin, CA, where they flew nearly 200 hours supporting reconnaissance, surveillance, live-fire and maneuver operations. In an August live-fire demonstration at Eglin AFB, FL, a Hunter was a testbed for a laser designator demo. In September, Hunter successfully demonstrated several payloads for the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center (see page 39).

For FY1997, the Congress provided an additional $12 million to the Army "to remove three Hunter systems from storage to provide a capability to further develop UAV concepts of operation."


aAs of 30 Sep 96
bReprogramming to TUAV/TCS, Predator and DarkStar RDT&E in process
cAddition to Army O&M Account