FARNBOROUGH, England, 12 July 2016. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI), a manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), radar, electro-optic, and related mission systems solutions, announced that its company-owned Predator C Avenger RPA system has achieved a historic milestone in receiving a FAA-issued Experimental Certificate (EC), enabling it to perform routine operations in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).
“Beginning with the Predator B Altair program in 2005, GA-ASI has worked closely with the FAA in the airworthiness certification of RPA systems, promoting their integration in the NAS,” explains David R. Alexander, president, aircraft systems, GA-ASI. “GA-ASI is proud to be the leader in RPA airspace integration, as evidenced by Avenger, the first-ever jet-powered RPA to receive a FAA EC.”
With avionics based upon the battle-proven Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, Avenger is designed to perform high-speed, long-endurance missions over land or sea. The aircraft has a 44-foot long fuselage and 66-foot wingspan, is capable of flying at over 400 KTAS, and has an endurance of 15 hours. Avenger can support a wide array of sensors and weapons loads and has been designed to carry an all-weather GA-ASI Lynx Multi-mode Radar, an Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and a 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), delivering an optimal balance of long loiter Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and precision-strike capability.
GA-ASI plans to begin flight testing of an extended-range Avenger in September 2016. With an increased wingspan of 76 feet, Improved Avenger will extend the aircraft’s already impressive endurance to 20 hours.
In related news, GA-ASI also announced another significant accomplishment with its fleet of Avenger aircraft surpassing 11,000 flight hours, noting that 95 percent of those hours were accumulated in the past three years.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems business unit is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, including Predator A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, Gray Eagle, the new Predator C Avenger, and Predator XP.
GA-ASI also manufactures a variety of state-of-the-art digital Ground Control Stations (GCS), including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The Mission Systems business unit 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 focuses on providing integrated sensor payloads and software for ISR aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas.
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