Company Stands Up New Flight Test Facility in Yuma
FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW – 14 July 2014 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced the successful first flight of Predator® XP, an updated version of the company's flagship Predator RPA that has been licensed by the U.S. Government for sale to a broader customer base, including countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South America, and Asia. The flight occurred June 27 at Castle Heliport, located at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
"This first flight represents a major milestone for GA-ASI's newest product line designed and developed for our international allies worldwide," said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. "We are now positioned to restart the Predator production line and proceed directly to full production in anticipation of new customer orders."
During the company-funded 35-minute flight, Predator XP demonstrated its ability to launch, climb to operational altitude, complete basic airworthiness maneuvers, and land without any discrepancies. A subsequent test program will be conducted to verify Predator XP's design, including safety of flight, automatic takeoff and landing, payload and communications testing, as well as beyond line-of-sight satellite communications control.
Managed by the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds, Castle Dome Heliport was developed to support RPA flight test operations. The airfield originally was built in the 1960s as a heliport for the helicopter development programs, and in 1980 a runway was added to support fixed wing operations. The runway was extended in 2003 and then updated again earlier this year to house a GA-ASI facility dedicated to the development and test of the company's RPA, including Predator XP. The facility likewise will be used for showcasing the Predator XP system to international customers.
Offering improved Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, Predator XP exhibits the same physical dimensions, altitude, speed, and long endurance (up to 35 hours) as the proven "RQ-1" Predator A aircraft. The aircraft also has been updated to include triple-redundant avionics, an Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS), GA-ASI's Lynx® Multi-mode Radar with Maritime Wide Area Surveillance (MWAS), High-Definition Electro-optical video, an improved Claw® sensor control and image analysis software system, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for maritime vessel monitoring and tracking, and a more efficient propulsion system.
High-resolution photos of Predator XP are available to qualified media outlets from the GA-ASI media contact listed below.
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. It also manufactures a variety of solid-state 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. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com
Predator, Lynx, Claw, Reaper, Gray Eagle, and Avenger are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
For more information contact:
Public Relations Manager
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
Posted on Jul 14, 2014