Predator Operations Over Alaskan Waters to Support the U.S. Coast Guard


Dec 02, 2003

25 November 2003 - San Diego, California. Two U.S. Navy RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) recently completed a successful deployment to the King Salmon area of south western Alaska in support of the U.S. Coast Guard. The aircraft flew maritime patrol missions under the extreme adverse conditions of an Alaskan winter, which included takeoff temperatures of - 30° and snow.

The deployment was under the operational control of the United States Coast Guard, with operational support being provided by the United States Navy (NAVAIR PMA-263). Flight operations were under the direct control of the Navy’s Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) group. GA-ASI provided contractor flight and maintenance crews to operate the two Navy Predators. As part of the exercise, the U.S. Coast Guard received real time Predator video and posted it to a file transfer protocol site for observation by Coast Guard officers throughout the continental US in near real time.

All flights originated from King Salmon airport and were conducted over the Bristol and Kvichak Bay areas. The Predators conducted surveillance and communications relay missions in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. Weather and cold temperatures proved to be a challenge for both the Predator ground crews and the USCGC Hickory. The extremely cold weather affected generators and other ground support equipment. The Coast Guard Cutter operated in seas in excess of 20 feet. The Predators themselves were undaunted by the weather challenges, flying 6 flights in 4 days.

Operating in numerous combat and politically sensitive areas throughout the world, the RQ-1 Predator system continues to meet the needs of the U.S. military and the Homeland Security Department in its fight against terrorism.

For more information contact:

Public Relations Department
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.


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