FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sep 15, 2008
Predator-Series Aircraft Pass Half-million Flight Hours Mark, Production Soaring
AFA AIR & SPACE, WASHINGTON DC – 15 September 2008 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and tactical reconnaissance radars, today provided an update on recent accomplishments of its Predator®-series UAS family, noting the achievement of numerous historical milestones. Key milestones are as follows:
- Predator-series aircraft have amassed over a half-million flight hours and will soon complete 50,000 total missions, with 85-percent of that time spent in combat. The 500,000-hour mark was achieved by P-131 on July 26 while performing an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This Predator A aircraft has flown over 300 combat missions and logged almost 6,000 flight hours in the two-and-a-half years it has been deployed.
- Predator-series aircraft are now flying over 20,000 hours a month supporting U.S. coalition forces in combat and homeland security requirements. These aircraft continue to maintain the highest operational readiness rates not only in the U.S. military aircraft inventory, but also in the U.K. inventory. In the past year alone, monthly flight hours have doubled.
- Over 300 Predator-series aircraft have been produced to date, including Predator A, I-GNAT® ER/Sky Warrior® Alpha, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, and Sky Warrior, among others. These aircraft are in constant daily operations supporting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, Italian Air Force, Royal Air Force, and other customers. GA-ASI is currently building seven aircraft and three ground control stations (GCS) a month, with ample capacity to ramp up as needed.
“GA-ASI has always placed the highest priority on supporting urgent war fighter needs, delivering sophisticated and combat-proven unmanned aircraft systems and ground control stations to our customers, and providing training in response to very demanding tasking from our operational forces,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “Recent milestones in both flight hours and production numbers give witness to the fact that the demand for our aircraft continues to grow because of new and repeat customers who believe that Predator-series UAS are key contributors to mission success and saving lives in combat.”
GA-ASI is currently producing Predator A and Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper aircraft one month ahead of schedule for several customers, while continuing to meet add-on production requirements and standing up/supporting new training and operational bases. At the same time, the company is designing, integrating, and supporting numerous and near-continuous upgrades and sensor integrations; executing multiple acquisition programs; and developing both next-generation aircraft and GCS.
To date, 50 Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper aircraft have been produced, with 20 produced on company funding in an effort to expedite deliveries to customers who have come to rely on the unmatched performance and reliability of Predator-series UAS. As a result, many of these aircraft have been delivered ahead of schedule, including one just 29 days after contract award. In addition, production on another aircraft line has been accelerated by one year and some two dozen additional aircraft produced ahead of the acquisition schedule, with most already in combat.
“These monumental accomplishments would not be possible if it were not for the exceptional GA-ASI team members who ensure that efficiency and innovation remain the hallmarks of this company,” added Cassidy.
High-resolution photos of Predator-series aircraft are available from GA-ASI’s media contact as listed below.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, provides comprehensive unmanned aircraft and radar solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable unmanned aircraft systems, including Predator A, Predator B, and Sky Warrior, and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® SAR/GMTI radar into both manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as the highly sophisticated CLAW® sensor control and image analysis software, and integrates sensor and communications equipment into manned ISR aircraft. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com.
Predator, I-GNAT, Sky Warrior, Lynx, and CLAW are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
For more information contact:
Public Relations Manager
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.