GA-ASI's Predator UAS Passes 200,000 Flight Hours Milestone

GA-ASI's Predator UAS Passes 200,000 Flight Hours Milestone


Aug 14, 2006

GA-ASI's Predator UAS Passes 200,000 Flight Hours Milestone

Predator’s Success Also Reflected by Attainment of 2,000th Employee

SAN DIEGO -- 14 August 2006 -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft and high-resolution surveillance and radar imaging systems, today announced that its MQ-1 Predator® unmanned aircraft system (UAS) achieved a milestone of 200,000 flight hours last month, with more than three-quarters of that time spent in combat for a total of 10,961 combat missions. The milestone was achieved by P-107 on July 22 while it performed an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with 139 combat missions flown in the nearly two years it has been deployed.

“Providing continuous and persistent armed reconnaissance and battlefield support to ground forces in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and other world trouble spots since 1995, Predator continues to be the most combat-proven UAS ever produced,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “Predator aircraft have flown nearly 100,000 flight hours over the past two years and are currently flying more than 6,000 flight hours per month while maintaining the highest operational readiness rates in U.S. Air Force inventory.”

A growth evolution of the proven GNAT® system, Predator performs over-the-horizon, long-endurance, medium-altitude surveillance, reconnaissance and weapons delivery and has an endurance of 40 hours. Featuring common avionics and mechanical systems, Predator is equipped with a satellite data link system; an Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR)-stabilized gimbal containing color and infrared video cameras, plus laser designation, laser spotting and laser range-finding capabilities; and a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and can be configured with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. The aircraft is currently operational with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Government, U.S. Army (Army I-GNAT ER), U.S. Navy and the Italian Air Force, and has been deployed by the U.S. Coast Guard for operations in Alaska.

The entire Predator series, which totals well over 200 aircraft and includes I-GNAT, Predator, Predator B and Altair®, among other aircraft, has accumulated more than 220,000 flight hours and is currently flying over 6,500 flight hours per month. Additional customers for non-Predator aircraft include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA and the Turkish Army.

In related news, GA-ASI also announced that its employee workforce is now over 2,100 employees. All company facilities are based in Southern California, with corporate headquarters, engineering and manufacturing in San Diego and flight operations and research and development facilities located in the Mojave Desert, just east of Los Angeles.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, provides comprehensive 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, Predator B, and Sky Warrior™, and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations. The Aircraft Systems Group has been awarded the SDD phase of the U.S. Army’s ER/MP UAS Program and is currently developing Sky Warrior as the next-generation Army UAS, featuring a heavy-fuel engine, triple redundant avionics and increased armament capability. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures and integrates the Magnum (Raptor View) high-resolution EO/IR and Lynx® SAR/GMTI sensor systems for both manned and unmanned aircraft. Leading the industry to new levels of performance, reliability and operational capability since its establishment in 1993, the company has expanded the acceptance and application of UAS within the United States and among allied forces around the globe. GA-ASI is committed to providing immediately deployable transformational technology for military operations, weapons systems and civil missions. For more information, please visit

Predator, GNAT, Altair and Lynx are registered trademarks and Sky Warrior is a trademark of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

For more information contact:

Kimberly Kasitz

Public Relations Manager

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.