|Predator B Receives Design Innovation Award |
Predator B Receives Design Innovation Award
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. receives the Design Innovation Award in Paris at the UV Conference. By Cyndi Wegerbauer.
San Diego, California and Paris, France -- June 16, 2001 (GAT) -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems, has received the Design Innovation Award from Unmanned Vehicles magazine on 16 June. During the ceremony at the Unmanned Vehicles Conference in Paris, GA-ASI was recognized for its development of the jet-powered Predator B aircraft and its successful first flight which occurred in February.
Admiral Thomas J. Cassidy receives the award from James Masey (Photo European-Security)
Since its founding in 1994, GA-ASI has expanded its product line to meet the unique operational objectives of both military and science communities around the globe. GA-ASI has led the industry in expanding the operational capabilities of remotely operated aircraft systems and fielding of new products such as Predator B, this year’s focal point for the Design Innovation Award.
GA-ASI’s primary design goal for Predator B was to develop a remotely operated aircraft system based upon the reliability and proven technology of the RQ-1 Predator, IGNAT and ALTUS aircraft but with significantly increased performance and operational capability. With over 30,000 flight hours, these aircraft have provided GA-ASI with a blueprint for success which have resulted in the flight-proven Predator B, an aircraft capable of meeting increased operational objectives of the science and defense communities.
Beginning as a company funded initiative in 1999, the Predator B program transitioned to a jointly-funded effort by GA-ASI and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in January 2000. The initial program consists of three aircraft of varying configurations. Equipped with a Honeywell TPE-331-10T turboprop engine, Predator B 001 will ultimately carry over 750 pounds of payload at speeds of over 200 KIAS to altitudes of 45,000 feet. Evaluation and envelope expansion flights of Predator B 001 will continue through the spring.
The number two and three aircraft configurations have been tailored to meet specific operational requirements. Predator B 002 will be a pure jet configuration capable of speeds to 270 KIAS and altitudes of 60,000 feet.
The third aircraft in the series, named ALTAIR, was developed specifically for scientific and commercial applications that require large payload capacities. This aircraft will be capable of performing various atmospheric research operations to altitudes above 50,000 feet while transmitting the data collected to scientists and researchers in real-time via satellite.
From a military perspective, the Predator B series will have increased speeds to allow it to transit and be repositioned quickly to new operating areas to provide critical and timely reconnaissance and targeting of ground activities. Coupled with its capacity to carry large payloads to even higher altitudes than those of the original Predator, Predator B will have greater standoff reconnaissance and targeting capabilities from high threat areas. In fact, Predator B will be capable of simultaneous carriage of numerous payloads such as a larger more capable camera system, the General Atomics Lynx synthetic aperture radar (SAR), a laser target designator, weapons and other detection systems.
Not only will Predator B provide the military community with significant mission capabilities as a follow-on to Predator, it will also empower the science community with an unusual capacity to perform various atmospheric research missions simultaneously for twenty-four hours. Based upon the successes enjoyed by the Predator program, GA-ASI will integrate Predator B with a Ku band satellite so that data collected can even be transmitted to scientists and researchers in real-time.
"A tremendous amount of work has gone into the program design of Predator B. My congratulations and thanks to our team of professionals who have made Predator B. The readers of Unmanned Vehicles magazine have watched us grow over the years and we sincerely thank you for recognizing the Predator B program and presenting GA-ASI with the Design Innovation Award," said Mr. Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer.
Contact: Cyndi Wegerbauer, (858) 455-2294.