|Spy in the Sky Flies over San Diego |
Spy in the Sky Flies over San Diego
By Cyndi Wegerbauer (*).
San Diego, California -- July 6, 2001 (GA-ASI)-- Manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), ALTUS, a single-turbo charged, high altitude remotely operated aircraft, has been conducting signal intelligence and surveillance missions at Camp Pendleton in support of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Using various sensors including a new payload comprised of several elements including an ESM component and digital data link, the objectives of the mission were for ALTUS to fly at 15,000 feet and identify signals on the ground such as threat emitters. The information was then passed through a ground control unit, analyzed and passed back to ALTUS for optical confirmation of the coordinates. The operational capability demonstrated by ALTUS verified the ability to use remotely operated aircraft as intelligence gatherers. ALTUS and sister aircraft such as the U.S. Air Force RQ-1 Predator® and IGNAT® systems have flown in the local area supporting a carrier battle group operating off the southern California coast, Marine amphibious landings at Camp Pendleton and local submarine operations.
"As a San Diego-based company, GA-ASI has spearheaded the employment of remotely operated aircraft for our nation’s success. This is a new era in aviation and exercises of this nature increase the utilization of unmanned aircraft systems for all "dull, dirty and dangerous" missions," stated Mr. Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., President and CEO of GA-ASI.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. manufactures a range of remotely operated aircraft (ROA) used for various commercial and military applications around the world. The RQ-1 Predator and GNAT systems have proven their military utility as a force multiplier in combat areas such as in the Balkans and Southwest Asia. Together with the ALTUS, Prowler II and our newest jet-powered Predator B, GA-ASI will continue to provide a sophisticated, state-of-the-art family of ROAs for a range of missions including surveillance, reconnaissance, scientific research, battle damage assessment, signals intelligence and others.
Cyndi Wegerbauer is Public Relations Manager of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.