FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jun 12, 2008
Fielding of Block 0 Aircraft to Accelerate SDD Phase of ER/MP Program
SAN DIEGO – 12 June 2008 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and tactical reconnaissance radars, today announced that two Sky Warrior® Block 0 UAS are now operational in Iraq, supporting U.S. Army ground forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The first mission for WY-201 occurred on April 18 and lasted 10.5 hours. A second Sky Warrior UAS, WY-202, was deployed at the end of April.
“The deployment of Sky Warrior Block 0 aircraft more than a year in advance of SDD [Systems Development and Demonstration] deployment requirements for the Army’s ER/MP [Extended Range/Multi-Purpose] UAS Program is a testament to the creative solutions that can be achieved with increased cooperation between government and industry,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “Sky Warrior is designed to be the Army’s most sophisticated and capable UAS. We are confident that this early fielding will not only showcase the maturity of the technology being incorporated into this new aircraft line, but also its ability to be a true force multiplier to soldiers in the field.”
Sky Warrior Block 0 is a quick reaction program designed to meet the Army’s urgent operational needs in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and offers significant risk reduction for the Sky Warrior Block 1 UAS developed for the ER/MP program. As a precursor to the Block 1 aircraft, Block 0 features the same advanced airframe design, diesel engine, and highly redundant avionics as Block 1. Fielding of the Block 0 variant will support the development phase of SDD, with operational data collected in combat expected to help facilitate the ER/MP Milestone C decision (re: Limited Rate Initial Production) scheduled to be made this summer.
In an effort to ensure readiness for extended flight operations in Iraq, a Sky Warrior Block 0 aircraft completed its first endurance flight in early April at China Lake, Calif. The aircraft achieved all stated objectives for the 26.5-hour flight, and fuel endurance calculations were better than expected.
Sky Warrior will provide all-weather persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR), with significant payload capability to meet the Army’s mission requirements. Under the ER/MP program’s SDD phase, 17 Sky Warrior Block 1 UAS will be produced, with four of the aircraft scheduled to be deployed. The remaining 13 aircraft will serve as test program assets. In the interim, the Army has also ordered a total of seven Sky Warrior Block 0 aircraft, with the balance expected to join the first two operational UAS before the end of the year.
High-resolution photos of Sky Warrior Block 0 and Block 1 aircraft are available from the GA-ASI’s media contact 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. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com.
Predator, 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.