Sky Warrior UAS Completes First Successful Automatic Takeoffs and Landings From ER/MP One System Ground Control Station

Oct 06, 2008

First Successful Flight via SATCOM Also Achieved

AUSA ANNUAL EXPOSITION, WASHINGTON DC – 6 October 2008 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and tactical reconnaissance radars, along with its “Team Sky Warrior” partners AAI Corporation and L-3 Communication Systems-West, today announced the successful first-attempted automatic takeoffs and landings of a Sky Warrior® UAS controlled from the AAI-developed Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) One System® Ground Control Station (OSGCS). Three automatic landings were successfully executed at GA-ASI’s El Mirage Flight Operations Center in Adelanto, Calif., on August 29, followed by three successful automatic takeoffs on September 26.

GA-ASI’s Sky Warrior aircraft was under full line-of-sight command and control through the L-3 Communication Systems-West Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). Automatic takeoff and landing utilizing TCDL represents a significant technical advancement in ER/MP UAS Program development and an important step in the maturation of diverse technologies prior to fielding the system, which is expected in July 2009.

“Control of Sky Warrior from the ER/MP One System GCS marks another successful milestone in the fielding of the aircraft system and in meeting the Army’s requirement for increased autonomous operation,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “GA-ASI’s prior ATLS [automatic takeoff and landing system] testing on our own Predator aircraft and GCS paved the way for these first successful takeoffs and landings using the OSGCS and TCDL.”

In related news, the Team Sky Warrior partners also announced the first successful flight of Sky Warrior from the OSGCS via over-the-horizon Ku-Band satellite communications (SATCOM). The flight was completed on July 24 at El Mirage and is a major move forward in providing the Army with multiple data link options.

Team Sky Warrior continues to make progress towards successful implementation of the Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of a multi-year contract for the ER/MP UAS Program, which calls for 17 Sky Warrior aircraft and seven OSGCS. The total program, including potential follow-on production, is estimated to be worth over $2 billion. Team member contributions to the program are as follows: GA-ASI, Sky Warrior UAS; AAI Corporation, OSGCS; L-3 Communication Systems-West, TCDL and SATCOM communications; and SPARTA, Inc., logistics support services.

High-resolution photos of the Sky Warrior Block aircraft and OSGCS are available from the GA-ASI media contact listed below.

About the Companies

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, provides comprehensive unmanned aircraft and radar solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable unmanned aircraft systems, including Predator® A, Predator B, and Sky Warrior, and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® SAR/GMTI radar into both manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as the highly sophisticated CLAW® sensor control and image analysis software, and integrates sensor and communications equipment into manned ISR aircraft. For more information, please visit

AAI Corporation designs, produces, and supports aerospace and defense systems through its direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries, AAI Services Corporation, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, ESL Defence Limited, and Symtx, Inc. Its high-technology products and services include unmanned aircraft systems, training and simulation systems, automated aerospace test and maintenance equipment, armament systems, aviation ground support equipment, and logistical, engineering, and supply chain services. AAI Corporation is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. More information is available at

L-3 Communications employs over 64,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in aircraft modernization and maintenance, C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems and government services. L-3 is a leading provider of high technology products, subsystems and systems. L-3 Communication Systems-West, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, has provided robust, mobile, microwave satellite terminals and wideband data links for airborne platforms, including manned and unmanned platforms, operating in a variety of environments for more than 40 years. To learn more about L-3 Communication Systems-West, visit the company's Web site at

Sky Warrior, Predator, Lynx, and CLAW are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. One System is a registered trademark of the U.S. Army.

For more information contact:

Kimberly Kasitz
Public Relations Manager
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Additional information on the Team Sky Warrior teaming companies may be obtained by contacting the following:

Sharon Corona
AAI Corporation
+1 (410) 628-3184

Patti Fekete
L3 Communication Systems - West
+1 (801) 594-3039

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