|The Predator Development Team Awarded the NASM Trophy|
The Predator Development Team Awarded the NASM Trophy
The National Air and Space Museum presents this trophy annually to recognize both past and present achievements involving the management or execution of a scientific or technological project, a distinguished career of service in air and space technology, or a significant contribution in chronicling the history of air and space technology. The trophy was created for the National Air and Space Museum by John Safer of Washington, D.C. Sources: National Air & Space Museum, Washington D.C. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., San Diego, California.
San Diego, California -- (GA-ASI) November 18, 2002 -- A. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., the leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems, has received one of the Smithsonian Institution's most distinguished honors, the National Air and Space Museum Current Achievement Trophy for the development of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. received the award - a miniature version of "The Web of Space" by sculpture artist John Safer - at a ceremony held at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on 14 November. The actual trophy remains on display at the Museum. President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr accepted the award for the team.
"The Web of Space" by sculpture artist John Safer (NASM Photo)
Established in 1985, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in scientific or technological endeavors relating to air and space technology and exploration. As such, the Predator Development Team has been recognized for designing, building and upgrading America's most effective unmanned aerial vehicles currently operating in combat environments around the world. Predator, modified to carry the Hellfire air-to-surface missile, was the first UAV in history to fire offensive weapons against enemy combat forces. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. continues to design and produce the Predator for the U.S. Air Force and the Italian Air Force.
"We developed the original Predator in name only back in 1988. Little did we know that the original Predator name would evolve to what it is today – an essential contributor to our national defense and war on terrorism," stated Mr. Cassidy during the award ceremony.
US Air Force Photo
With over 25,000 combat hours and 50,000 total flight hours, the Predator system provides war fighters with real-time reconnaissance information using both day and night infrared cameras as well as synthetic aperture radar. Precision attack capabilities using laser target designators coupled with Hellfire missiles have also been developed and deployed in support of the U.S. Air Force's operations overseas. Predator continues to confirm its strength and flexibility as the only system that is making it happen as our country fights terrorism around the world.
"The future is now for the UAV industry but only because Predators are the systems that have made it happen from numerous locations worldwide," expressed Mr. Cassidy.
"The significance of the development of unmanned aerial vehicles is not yet fully understood or appreciated. In the past, obtaining reconnaissance information over enemy territory was extremely risky business. Loitering above combat zones has traditionally held even greater risks for the pilot and crew. Predator's reliability and capability have allowed the relocation of the operators to safe locations. This type of "stand-off" protection for aviators has long been sought by air generals as an added measure of protection for their aircrew. During World War II, Hap Arnold, Commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces, pushed for the development of remotely piloted B-17s and glide bombs after horrible losses of aircraft during raids over Ploesti, Regensberg, and Schweinfurt, Germany. Development of the Predator and its follow-on system, the prop jet-powered Predator-B, are finally achieving a goal set more than 50 years ago to save lives by removing aviators from immediate danger over enemy targets," stated the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in a news release dated 11 November.