General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and U.S. Customs & Border Protection Make History With Launch of Predator® B UAS


Sep 29, 2005

First Procurement CBP Unmanned Aircraft System Unveiled to Secure Nation's Border

SAN DIEGO – September 29, 2005 - General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft and high resolution surveillance and radar imaging systems, along with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today unveiled the CBP's first procurement unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a Predator B UAS, at Sierra Vista MuniLibby Army Airfield in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.

"Today marks the beginning of new chapter in using unmanned aircraft systems to secure our nation's borders as Predator B offers the CBP a superior over land reconnaissance solution," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. "The ability to meet CBP's aggressive delivery schedule of 30 days from contract award was no doubt key to realizing today's historical moment."

The Predator B system, which will provide long-endurance surveillance and communications relay in support of the CBP's Arizona Control Initiative (ABCI), will be operated and maintained by GA-ASI personnel in close cooperation with CBP Border Patrol agents who will assist in the command and control of the UAS from a Ground Control Station (GCS) located at Ft. Huachuca. Real-time images from the aircraft will enable proper assessment of intrusions and eliminate false alarm responses by agents, thereby increasing their patrolling effectiveness. Predator B is also expected to provide agents with a detailed "birds eye view," particularly in remote portions of the border where CBP Border Patrol agents cannot travel easily or safely and infrastructure is difficult or impossible to build.

"To secure our nation's borders is priority number one," said Robert C. Bonner, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "CBP now owns and operates the most advanced state-of-the-art technology and is capitalizing on the Predator B unmanned aircraft system to secure the country better. This 'eye in the sky' will not only support the 'boots on the ground' but will also allow us to deploy resources more effectively, ultimately enhancing our ability to gain operational control of our borders."

Powered by a turboprop engine, Predator B is a long-endurance, high-altitude unmanned aircraft designed for use as a multi-mission system - from reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and weapons delivery to scientific research and other civilian applications. Predator B is based on the reliability of the Predator airframe, avionics, mechanical systems, data link, and flight control technology but has a 500 percent greater payload capacity than Predator (800 lbs. internal, 3,000 lbs. external), an endurance over 30 hours, speeds greater than 220 knots, and can operate above 50,000 feet. It features a fault-tolerant redundant flight control system with triple-redundant avionics for increased reliability and can be configured with a variety of weapons, carrying up to 3,000 pounds of external ordnance. Predator B is ideally suited for homeland security, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and allied navies and coast guard missions that require a reliable maritime and littoral surveillance solution.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), 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 remotely operated aircraft (ROA) systems, including the Predator UAS series, 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 world. GA-ASI is committed to providing immediately deployable transformational technology for military operations and weapons systems, as well as civil missions. For more information, please visit

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


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