Mariner Demonstrator UAV Achieves Industry Milestones during Canadian Deployment


Sep 07, 2004

7 September 2004 - San Diego, California. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, announced today that its ALTAIR unmanned aircraft, dubbed the Mariner Demonstrator due to its configuration and mission objective, successfully concluded its deployment to Canada on 30 August where it supported the Atlantic Littoral Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Experiment (ALIX). Deployed to Goose Bay, Canada in early August, Mariner participated in three long endurance mission scenarios in order to evaluate the use and integration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the Canadian Force architecture for enhanced situational awareness and increased dissemination of intelligence. The result was historic in that the Mariner was the first beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) UAV to fly to 66.5 degrees north altitude in the Canadian Artic and the first to be integrated and operated in Canadian national airspace. Equipped with a surface search radar and as well as other payloads, radar and video imagery was disseminated to remote locations throughout Canada.

Launched from a main operating base at Goose Bay, Newfoundland and flown on an instrument flight plan, control of the aircraft and payload was passed via BLOS satellite communications to a remote operations center in downtown Ottawa. Icing conditions, cloud cover, and severe winds did not impact the aircraft’s ability to perform surveillance in support of three operational scenarios: a domestic contingency, peace-keeping and domestic defense/national security over Baffin Island in the Artic Circle and the Canada’s Atlantic Economic Exclusion Zone in which the aircraft was flown at altitudes ranging from 16,000 to 43,000 ft. During the first mission to the Artic Circle, Mariner flew a landmark total range of over 2,800 nautical miles. Throughout the deployment, Mariner passed surface search radar and video imagery to two separately-located remote video terminals (RVT) where data collection and fusing of intelligence products from maritime, air and ground forces were conducted for situational awareness evaluation. The deployment concluded on 30 August 2004.

For over ten years, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has been delivering proven and reliable unmanned aircraft systems to customers throughout the world. In 1995, the U.S. Air Force began operating Predator in combat areas over the Balkans and then Afghanistan and Iraq. Predator acquires surveillance and targeting information and immediately transmits it via satellite to various end users including command centers in-theater, RVTs in the field, receive-only terminals in the Pentagon and other locations throughout the world. With this type of data collection and dissemination, a reliable and immediate picture of the battlefield can be evaluated by officials for quick decision-making.

In July of this year, the Mariner Demonstrator deployed to Alaska in support of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Concept of Operations Development tests. The aircraft, equipped with maritime surface surveillance radar, a USCG-developed Automatic Identification System and television and infrared cameras provided real-time surveillance of the coastal waters surrounding southern Alaska. The U.S. Coast Guard also conducted a Predator deployment in late 2003 to Alaska where the aircraft operations were conducted in harsh and severe weather conditions. In both cases, real-time video was provided to various customers throughout the world. The U.S. government has also used the IGNAT, Predator and Predator B aircraft systems for patrol of the U.S.-Mexico border.

About General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

Founded in 1993, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has spearheaded acceptance and set industry reliability standards for unmanned aircraft systems for military and commercial customers such as the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, NASA, Department of Energy and several overseas governments. Leading the industry to new levels of performance and interoperability for network centric operations, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. uses proven design philosophies and the experience gained by the combat-proven Predator to develop aircraft systems which meet the performance requirements of customers worldwide. Mr. Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr. is President and Chief Executive Officer.

For more information contact:

Public Relations Department
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.


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