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Italian Air Force Buys Predator System

Italian Air Force Buys Predator System

San Diego, California -- (GA-ASI) August 6, 2001 -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, announced today that it has received a contract to deliver the Predator remotely operated aircraft (ROA) system to the Italian Air Force. The contract valued at $60 million includes options for the planned purchased of additional aircraft and a number of General Atomics Lynx synthetic aperture radars (SAR) to support all-weather operations.

Production will commence immediately with deliverables scheduled within 7-9 months. GA-ASI has teamed with Meteor, an Italian aerospace company working in the field of UAVs and Flight Simulators, who will assist with in-country activities and program support.

Marking this contract milestone, Mr. Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of GA-ASI, stated, "Since 1994, the Predator system has been operated by the U.S. Air Force and has proven its military utility as an essential intelligence gatherer and targeting system. It will play an essential reconnaissance and surveillance role for the Italian Air Force in both military and commercial applications."

As one of the first participants in the Department of Defense's (DoD) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTD), GA-ASI won a competitive contract in January 1994 for ten Predator aircraft under the ACTD Program.

The first aircraft flew less than six months after contract award. In July 1995, a short one year after first flight, Predator deployed to various countries in the Balkans to support U.N, U.S. and NATO interests in the area. Predator has continued to support operations in the Balkans and Southwest Asia, flying more than 2,300 combat area missions. The jet-powered Predator B, the next generation Predator, has been flying since February 2001.

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. In addition to Predator, GA-ASI's family of remotely operated aircraft systems includes the jet-powered Predator B, long endurance I-GNAT, ALTUS and Prowler II. To date, Predator is the only operational ROA that carries day and night video cameras plus a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can image ground targets through the clouds. A satellite datalink is used to control the aircraft and retrieve motion video of target areas.

Contact: Cyndi Wegerbauer, Public Relations Manager, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. 16761 Via Del Campo Court, San Diego, CA 92127-1713 USA, + 858-455-2294; +858-455-4247 FAX - wegerb@gat.com


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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).