GA-ASI Aircraft Family Achieves Two Million Flight Hours
Predator/Gray Eagle-Series Continues to Provide Unmatched Support to Warfighters, Border Agents, First Responders, and Scientists
SAN DIEGO – 24 September 2012 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced that its Predator®/Gray Eagle®-series aircraft family has reached a historic industry milestone: two million flight hours. The noteworthy achievement occurred on Sept. 9, with more than 150,000 total missions completed and nearly 90-percent of all missions flown in combat.
“GA-ASI’s business is the development of transformational systems that deliver paradigm changing results,” said Neal Blue, chairman and CEO, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “This accomplishment has resulted in the highest availability of any manned or unmanned aircraft system in the world and also demonstrates the value of the integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent, wide-area situational awareness.”
The identification of the specific aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone is unknown as every second of every day approximately 50 GA-ASI aircraft are airborne worldwide. On Sept. 9, 24 Predators, 15 Predator Bs, six Gray Eagles, and five Sky Warrior® Alphas were in operation. Flight hours have seen tremendous growth in recent years, with 500,000 flight hours achieved from 1993 to 2008, one million just two years later in 2010, and one-and-a-half million the following year in 2011. The aircraft family is currently logging more than 45,000 flight hours a month.
“The real achievement is what two million represents–two million hours of operating a proven technology that saves lives, reduces threats, safeguards borders, and advances science,” said Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “The ultimate effectiveness of our RPA relies upon the dedication and innovation of our employees, a commitment from our suppliers to deliver superior quality products in a timely manner, and support from our partners to meet our customers’ ever-changing requirements.”
Predator/Gray Eagle-series 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, the Italian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and other customers in the execution of a wide variety of missions:
Help protect warfighters by tracking their movement and searching for potential threats, along with engaging hostile enemies when necessary.
Assist border agents in curbing the tide of illegal immigrants, sealing the nation’s borders from terrorists, stemming the flow of illicit contraband, and performing drug interdiction. Also thwart human trafficking and piracy schemes on the maritime front.
Aid first responders in prioritizing government resources most effectively, saving lives, and preventing millions of dollars in property damage following natural disasters.
Support scientists in performing Earth science missions, as well as advanced aircraft systems research and technology development.
Over 550 aircraft have been produced since the company’s first aircraft, the GNAT® 750, took flight in 1993. Today, GA-ASI is building six aircraft and five Ground Control Stations (GCS) per month, with the capacity to double production if needed.
High-resolution photos of Predator/Gray Eagle-series aircraft are available upon request 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, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft systems, including Predator A, Predator B, Gray Eagle, and the new Predator C Avenger. It also manufactures a variety of solid-state digital ground control stations, including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The Reconnaissance Systems Group 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 develops and integrates other sensor and communication equipment into manned ISR aircraft and develops emerging technologies in solid-state lasers, electro-optic sensors, and ultra-wideband data links for government applications. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com.
Predator, Gray Eagle, Sky Warrior, GNAT, Avenger, Lynx, and Claw are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
For more information contact:
Public Relations Manager
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.