The US military is looking to launch an unmanned aircraft in 2019, after a decade of developing and building drones that are capable of flying over a wide range of airspace, from military bases to airports and even the Arctic.
The Air Force has a $3.2bn order for 20 Predator drones, and will start flying the unmanned aircraft by the end of 2019, the Air Force said.
A new drone, dubbed the Predator X, is a step forward in the development of the unmanned systems that can fly at night and fly over land.
The first Predator drone will fly on a test flight at the Utah National Guard’s training center in February, and is expected to become operational in 2021.
“This is the first of a series of test flights to verify the capabilities and functionality of the Predator system,” the Air Forces Command (AFSC) said in a statement.
The US has also been developing drones to fly in low-Earth orbit, and the Air National Guard has also received some Predator drones.
The Army is also building drones capable of going into orbit, with a fleet of 10 drones currently under development.
However, the US military has yet to release any operational details about the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said that it was exploring the use of drones for military purposes.
Earlier this year, a team of researchers at the US Department of Defense said that the drone program could be extended beyond just the military, and could eventually include non-military applications such as commercial and civil drones.