SAN DIEGO, 7 July 2016. Fuselage integration has begun on the new Certifiable Predator B (CPB) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) system, also commonly referred to as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drone, from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA‑ASI), a manufacturer of RPA, radar, and electro-optic and related mission systems.
“The start of fuselage integration for the CPB aircraft represents a significant milestone in our progression towards building a certifiable platform,” describes Dave R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “CPB will provide a next-generation capability, integrating enhanced safety and reliability systems that will enable RPA flight within civilian airspace, ushering in a new era in unmanned aviation.”
During fuselage integration, numerous components will be installed, including brackets and mounting hardware, electrical cables, fuel systems, oil and cooling systems, landing gear, avionics hardware and software, and a propulsion system.
The next major phase of the aircraft assembly effort consists of wings and tails integration, which is planned for summer 2016, to be followed by complete electrical factory testing. Upon completing all installations and inspections, the aircraft will undergo power checks, fuel checks, and a complete system check. Lastly, ground verification testing will take place prior to first flight of the CPB prototype aircraft. Flight testing is planned for late 2016.
GA-ASI is undertaking an Independent Research and Development (IRAD) effort to design, develop, and produce CPB, a variant of its Predator B RPA that is compliant with NATO’s UAV System Airworthiness Requirements, defined in STANAG 4671.
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 designer and manufacturer of RPA systems, including Predator A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, Gray Eagle, the new Predator C Avenger, and Predator XP. It 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 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft platforms and develops high-energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas.
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