Army I-GNAT ER UAS Achieves 10,000 Combat Flight Hours in Record 2 Years


May 10, 2006

Other U.S. Army Programs Progress with Successful ER/MP UAS PDR

SAN DIEGO - 10 May 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 Army I-GNAT® ER unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has reached a record 10,000 combat flight hours on a total of 858 combat missions. The milestone was achieved by AI-005 while it performed a routine surveillance mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“With the highest full-mission capability rate of any operational U.S. Army UAS, the Army I-GNAT ER aircraft has made remarkable strides since it was deployed to Iraq just over two years ago,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “No other unmanned aircraft system has reached this level of performance as quickly as the durable, consistent Army I-GNAT ER.”

Flying a total of more than 700 hours a month between two deployment sites, the Army I-GNAT ER family of three combat aircraft achieved 10,000 combat flight hours four years earlier than even the company’s flagship Predator® UAS. Positioned as a cost-effective, long-endurance tactical reconnaissance system to support ground troops, the initial Army I-GNAT ER aircraft were deployed in March 2004, only six months after contract award. Fielded aircraft are also being integrated with SATCOM capability to allow for beyond line-of-sight control. The Army I-GNAT ER is fully contractor-supported, with 11 company crew members at each site.

In other U.S. Army program news, GA-ASI also recently completed a successful sub-system Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for its Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAS, which is the first major review of the aircraft design. The ER/MP UAS program, which is designed to provide Army Division and Corps commanders with a long-endurance persistent ISR and tactical strike capability, is on schedule to deliver the first aircraft by April 2007. Program advances will include a common ground control station that can control multiple aircraft; a satellite communications capability that will enable SATCOM missions to be conducted with half of the Army’s ER/MP UAS fleet; a tri-sensor payload; a 135 horsepower FAA-certified heavy-fuel engine and dual-slotted flaps that will allow for a 3,000-pound take-off weight; and a reduced runway requirement.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of privately held 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 and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations. 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 unmanned aircraft systems 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

I-GNAT, Predator and Lynx are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

For more information contact:

Kimberly Kasitz

Public Relations Manager

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

+1 (858) 455-2294


Go Back