With the drone SparrowHawk General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) developed a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The SparrowHawk is basically a payload, as they should by a drone Class Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE), for example. Of the type MQ-9 Reaper US Air Force (USAF) or MQ-1C Gray Eagle US Army deposed and can be resumed.
So far, a prototype was made, which is to fly for the first time in 2020. but this is still dependent on an appropriate financing. According to the GA-Aziz Considerations The new UAV could then from 2021 are available to the customer.
SparrowHawk weighs about 91 kg and can carry a payload of around 13.6 kg. The range is specified with 174 nm (322 km). For used engine or other flight parameters, the company will currently give any information. The development takes place by GA-ASI self-funded place and is (still) no official project of the USAF.
SparrowHawk is practically an offshoot of the failed bid for the Gremlins program of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). At that time the contract was awarded to Dynetics. At that time a UAV should be developed that launched from a Lockheed Martin C-130J transport aircraft and should be resumed after the reconnaissance mission of this.
In order for this project has very strong similarities to the plans as part of the Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Again, the manned combat aircraft will together with a swarm of drones - for various tasks - operate. There will be two classes of so-called Remote carriers (RC): a small class of less than 100 kg, and without return mechanism and a larger class with return function. The larger drones with return function could be started, for example, of an Airbus A400M and collected.
In the GA-ASI planning a MQ-9-Reaper or MQ-1C Gray Eagle acts (in the image) as a mother ship. This MALE drones have a standing time of up to 40 hours in the air. GA-ASI currently does not specify whether the smaller drones also fueled by the mother ship again and can be used again.
The ground stations are to be adapted and expanded, which also includes data networking and artificial intelligence (AI). AI and more automation are making the flock function can also be used for a surgeon. It is a whole family of these "payload UAVs" (in English: attritable aircraft) arise for various tasks. So they should be able to take on tasks such as reconnaissance, surveillance, (loitering) ammunition, anti-radar missiles, Jammer / suppression or electronic warfare (EW). Again, there is an almost-100% parallel to the FCAS planning. The mother ship can also support by other sensors and act as a relay station for communication.