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First Pre-Production Predator B Unmanned Aircraft Takes Flight

First Pre-Production Predator B Unmanned Aircraft Takes Flight

San Diego, California -- (GA-ASI) October 30, 2003 -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems, announced today that on October 17, the first pre-production version of the Predator B flew from the company’s flight operations facility in California. Predator B is being manufactured for quick transit, long endurance flights in support of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and weapons delivery missions.

GA-ASI Photo

The pre-production Predator B incorporates a wider fuselage to house additional fuel, enabling it to fly for over 30 hours while carrying over 3,000 lbs of external and 800 lbs of internal payloads for a total gross take-off weight of 10,000 lbs. Predator B, capable of operations above 50,000 ft, incorporates a Honeywell turbo-prop engine, larger sensor package and increased wingspan over that of the MQ-1 Predator. As an extension of this program, the company has also invested in the development of Predator B’s sister aircraft, the ALTAIR and Predator B-Extended Range. These aircraft incorporate common avionics and mechanical systems with an increased wingspan for flights above 50,000, and in the case of Predator B-ER, for an increased endurance to 49 hours. All Predator B series aircraft will have triple redundant avionics and dual mechanical control systems to meet requirements for flight in National Air Space.

Celebrating its tenth year anniversary, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., located in San Diego, California, has been the premier unmanned aircraft provider to the U.S. and foreign governments since the early 90s, providing such proven systems as the GNAT series, Predator, Predator B and ALTUS.

  • The Predator B aircraft was developed in 2000 with first flight commencing in February 2001. Powered by a turboprop engine, the Predator B series was designed as a long-endurance, high-altitude unmanned aircraft for use as a multi-mission system by a variety of customers. From reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, and weapons delivery to scientific research and other civilian applications, Predator B has the capacity to conduct multiple missions simultaneously due to its large internal and external payload capacity.
  • GA-ASI New Website
  • POC: Cyndi Wegerbauer, Public Relations Manager, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., 858-455-2294, e-mail: wegerb@gat.com; www.gat.com/asi/home.html

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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).