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Mini-UAV Launched from Predato

Mini-UAV Launched from Predator

San Diego, California -- (GA-ASI) August 23, 2002 -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, announced that the combat-proven RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) successfully launched a mini-UAV while in flight. This is the first time in history where an operational UAV has demonstrated the capability to carry and launch another UAV.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Photo

Known as a Flight Inserted Detector Expendable for Reconnaissance (FINDER), this 57 lb mini-UAV was carried on a pylon under Predator’s wing and released at an altitude of 10,000 ft. MSL. FINDER conducted a 25-minute pre-programmed mission before control was passed from the Predator ground control station (GCS) to a flight technician who landed FINDER on a dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base. Predator is capable of carrying two FINDERs on operational missions.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Photo

As part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) airborne sensor program, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)-produced FINDER mini-UAV program is designed to evaluate Predator’s capability to carry and launch independently controlled and self-propelled mini-UAVs into hazardous conditions. Once launched, atmospheric sampling and assessments can be made prior to any combat strikes and that information can then be relayed to users in real-time. To extend the capability of the FINDER mini-UAV, the next phase of the program will include the integration of PIRANHA, an Aerospace SMC-manufactured Predator Infrared Narrowband Hyperspectral combat Assessor (PIRANHA) that can detect and identify the presence of various atmospheric compounds. Future plans are to demonstrate the ability to near-simultaneously launch a FINDER mini-UAV from each wing to extend Predator’s post-strike assessment range. Other payloads could be incorporated on FINDER to diversify its mission profile.

Operating in numerous combat areas throughout the world, the RQ-1 Predator system continues to evolve to meet the needs of the U.S. military in its fight against terrorism. From surveillance and initial detection to weapon employment, Predator remains a versatile multi-mission aircraft system that routinely proves its broad military utility on a daily basis.

  • Contact: Cyndi Wegerbauer, Public Relations Manager, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. at 858-455-2810. Email at wegerb@gat.com

Related Sites:

FINDER Mini-UAV (Naval Research Laboratory Photo)

Excerpt from APL Colloquium: "Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles": 'The Small UAV' is the newest category of Navy unmanned air vehicles. Taking advantage of miniaturization, they are being developed to compliment current systems by performing missions that are too dull, dirty, dangerous, or expensive for existing unmanned and manned platforms.

The Naval Research Laboratory has been developing Small UAV technologies and mission demonstrators since 1975 and has pioneered four key technology areas that currently define a state-of-the-art Small UAV.

They are:

  • rapid deployability,
  • advanced propulsion,
  • autonomous operation, and
  • affordable expendability.

An overview of these technologies, plus highlights of several Small UAVs developed at NRL will be presented. These Small UAVs include the Flight Inserted Drone Expendable/ Recoverable (FINDER), that is launched from the Predator UAV; the ship-launched Flying Radar Target (FLYRT); the Extender, designed for deployment from tactical aircraft; the Micro Tactical Expendable (MITE), Navy Micro UAV; and the USMC hand-launched Dragon Eye, man-portable Small UAV.

 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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