|Predator® Surpasses 10,000 Flight Hours |
Predator® Surpasses 10,000 Flight Hours
San Diego, California (GA-ASI) October 14, 1998. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, announced today that the Predator® remotely operated aircraft (ROA) has accumulated over 10,000 flight hours since its first flight in July 1994. This milestone was reached by two airborne U.S. Air Force Predators flying over Nevada on routine operational flights.
The Predator aircraft was one of the original participants in the Department of Defense's (DoD) ACTD program. In January 1994, GA-ASI won a competitive contract for ten Predator aircraft under this program. The first aircraft flew less than six months after contract award. In July 1995, a short one year after first flight, Predators deployed to Albania to conduct flight operations over Bosnia. Currently on its third deployment in support of UN, NATO and US forces in Bosnia, Predators have been instrumental in providing near real time video and synthetic aperture radar imagery day or night in all-weather and distributed via satellite worldwide - without exposing pilots to combat fire.
The Predator program has since transitioned to full production, marking it as the first ACTD program to be designated a Major Acquisition Category (ACAT) II Program. In March 1998, GA-ASI was awarded a $71.5 million contract. This U.S. government contract calls for 18 additional Predator aircraft, bringing the total purchased by the government to fifty-three. Two months later, GA-ASI was awarded a $8.9 million Predator Block 1 Upgrade contract, expanding the current capabilities of the system. Additional Predator aircraft will be ordered in 1999.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., based in San Diego, California, manufactures, develops and supports a variety of unmanned aircraft for military and commercial customers worldwide. Each aircraft is operated by a pilot and assisted by a payload operator located in a ground control station (GCS). GA-ASI's family of UAVs includes Predator, I-GNAT&trade, Altus® and Prowler II&trade.
Contact: Cyndi Wegerbauer (619) 455-2294 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Doug Fouquet (619) 455-2173.