General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Awarded DHS/CBP UAS Contract


Sep 01, 2005

First Year Award Worth $14.1 Million

SAN DIEGO – September 1, 2005 -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft and high resolution surveillance and radar imaging systems, today announced that it has been awarded a contract for the first Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

“We are very pleased that Customs and Border Protection has awarded us this first procurement contract for the use of unmanned aircraft systems to patrol our nation’s borders,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “The prop jet Predator B meets the over land reconnaissance solutions for the Department of Homeland Security. The performance of our combat proven aircraft systems, combined with our capability to respond rapidly to the emergent needs of our customers, were key to our success, and we look forward to expanding our relationship with CBP in support of the protection of our nation’s borders.”

The DHS/CBP UAS contract award will allow GA-ASI to provide a superior product to fulfill the nation’s need for increased surveillance of its borders. The contract includes the delivery of one system, which will initially be comprised of a Predator® B aircraft equipped with EO/IR and the Lynx synthetic aperture radar (SAR), ground control station, launch and recovery system, support equipment, engineering and logistics support. The Predator B system, which will be operated and maintained by GA-ASI personnel, will provide long-endurance surveillance, as well as communications relay for the CBP mission, and fully meets the agency’s requirement for an off-the-shelf rapid delivery system that complies with DHS/CBP performance specifications.

GA-ASI’s relationship with the DHS began in November 2003 when Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a test mission along the southwest border of the U.S., near Gila Bend, AZ, utilizing Predator B. The border surveillance mission, which ran for 115 hours over a two-week period, both day and night, showcased the ability of the aircraft to locate and track illegal immigrants, with the surveillance video serving as vital evidence in court prosecutions.

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 the system of choice for homeland security, the U.S. Navy, and allied navies and coast guards requiring 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 UAV series, and provides pilot training and support services for UAV 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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