|Predator® Relief-on-Station Capabilities Successfully Demonstrated |
Predator® Relief-on-Station Capabilities Successfully Demonstrated
San Diego, California -- (GA-ASI) July 13, 1998. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, announced today that it had successfully demonstrated the relief-on-station (ROS) capabilities of the Predator® remotely operated aircraft (ROA) earlier this month.
Conducted under contract with the U.S. Government, GA-ASI developed the hardware, software and procedures of this program so that two Predators could be successfully controlled from a single ground control station (GCS) via a single KuBand Link Management Assembly (LMA).
The U.S. Air Force routinely flies two Predators in the same operating area. With ROS procedures in place, Predators can now be flown to distant operating areas where they would assume on station responsibilities before the relieved Predator departed from the area. This will allow for continuous on station coverage over areas of interest. The final flight in this development series was conducted out of the company's Flight Operations Center in El Mirage, Calif. Predators were then operated in Edwards Air Force Base airspace.
Conducted under a ROS capability contract, operational improvements will be conducted under the $8.9 million Predator system upgrade contract that was awarded to GA-ASI in May.
Designed as a long endurance, medium altitude unmanned aircraft system for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Predators have been integrated with a KuBand satellite data link to provide over-the-horizon mission capabilities. This initial ROS proved that Predators could provide continuous coverage over an area of interest without loss of time on station. An improved ROS will be developed by incorporating a second KuBand LMA into the GCS. This upgrade will allow two Predators to be independently controlled from a single GCS resulting in simultaneous execution of separate missions.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., based in San Diego, California, was one of the original participants in the Department of Defense (DoD) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) programs. In March of this year, GA-ASI was awarded a $71.5 million contract by the U.S. government for an additional 18 Predator aircraft, bringing the total to fifty-three. Two months later, GA-ASI was awarded a $8.9 million Block 1 Upgrade contract for the Predator system. Under this contract, a series of engineering and technical services are performed to expand the current capabilities of the Predator system. System upgrades include development and testing of an improved relief-on-station, secure air traffic control voice relay, KuBand satellite tuning and implementation of Air Force Mission Support System (AFMSS). Predator is the only operational airborne reconnaissance system available in the U.S. inventory that can provide near real time video and synthetic aperture radar imagery day or night through a satellite distribution system.
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