GA-ASI to Develop Predator B
Variant to Meet NATO/European Airworthiness Standards
Company Launches Significant IRAD Effort, Expands
Partnership with RUAG
San Diego, California – (GA-ASI)
– 26 June 2013 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading
manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars,
and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced that it is undertaking
an Independent Research and Development (IRAD) effort to develop a variant of
its Predator® B RPA that is fully compliant with the airworthiness requirements
of the U.S. Air Force and anticipated NATO foreign customers, as well as offers
enhanced capabilities for integration into domestic and international airspace.
It is envisioned that the system solution will be a
multi-nation, certifiable, exportable configuration built upon the company's
Block 5 Predator B aircraft capabilities and Advanced Cockpit Ground Control
Station (GCS) layout.
"Predator B is the most cost-effective and best-valued RPA in
its class and continues to draw significant interest from our NATO allies," said
Neal Blue, chairman and CEO, GA-ASI. "It is imperative that we ensure
airworthiness certification of Predator B both at home and abroad as coalition
forces withdraw from Afghanistan and nations transition mission focus to
protection of the homeland and other civil uses."
GA-ASI has expanded its relationship with RUAG Aerospace
Services GmbH, its German partner, to allow for increased collaboration in
defining long-term solutions and enhancements for airworthiness to the NATO
Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) and UK Defence Standardizations (DEFSTANs).
The two companies have been teamed for the past two years to offer Predator B to
meet the surveillance needs of the Federal Republic of Germany, but this is the
first formal contract between them. Effective April 1, RUAG has been engaged to
provide technical assistance with the analysis, decomposition, and management of
airworthiness requirements as they pertain to Predator B RPA airworthiness.
The multi-mission Predator B is a long-endurance,
medium-high-altitude RPA that can be used for surveillance, military
reconnaissance, and targeting missions. The current aircraft configuration
features an extensive payload capacity (850 lb/386 kg internally, 3,000 lb/1361
kg externally), with a maximum gross takeoff weight of 10,500 lb/4763 kg, is
powered by a Honeywell turboprop engine, has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet/15240
meters, and can stay aloft for up to 27 hours.
Predator B is currently operational with the U.S. Air Force
and Royal Air Force as MQ-9 Reaper and with the Italian Air Force as MQ-9. The
aircraft provides unparalleled close air support and persistent situational
awareness over land or sea to coalition forces, demonstrating proven NATO
interoperability. Some 140 Predator Bs have amassed more than 575,000 flight
hours since the RPA's first flight in 2001.
High-resolution photos of Predator B are also available
upon request to qualified media outlets from GA-ASI's media contact listed below.
About GA-ASI : General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness
by providing remotely piloted aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for
military and commercial applications worldwide. The company's Aircraft Systems
Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely
piloted aircraft systems, including Predator® A, Predator B, Gray Eagle®, the
new Predator C Avenger®, and Predator XP. It also manufactures a variety of
solid-state digital GCS, including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and
provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The
Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx®
Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw® sensor control and image analysis
software into both manned and remotely piloted aircraft. It also develops and
integrates other sensor and communication equipment into manned ISR aircraft and
develops emerging technologies in solid-state lasers, electro-optic sensors, and
ultra-wideband data links for government applications. For more information,
please visit www.ga-asi.com.
Predator, Gray Eagle, Avenger, Lynx,
and Claw are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
For more information contact:
Kimberly Kasitz, Public
Relations Manager, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., +1.858.312.2294