Thu, Nov 06, 2003
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), has
disclosed that it is flying a new generation of Predator UAV. On
October 17, the first pre-production version of the Predator B flew
from the company's flight operations facility in California.
Predator B is being manufactured for quick transit, long endurance
flights in support of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance
and weapons delivery missions.
The pre-production Predator B incorporates a wider fuselage to
house additional fuel, enabling it to fly for over 30 hours while
carrying over 3,000 lbs of external and 800 lbs of internal
payloads for a total gross take-off weight of 10,000 lbs. Predator
B, capable of operations above 50,000 ft, incorporates a Honeywell
turbo-prop engine, larger sensor package and increased wingspan
over that of the MQ-1 Predator.
As an extension of this program, the company has also invested
in the development of Predator B's sister aircraft, the ALTAIR and
Predator B-Extended Range. These aircraft incorporate common
avionics and mechanical systems with an increased wingspan for
flights above 50,000, and in the case of Predator B-ER, for an
increased endurance to 49 hours. All Predator B series aircraft
will have triple redundant avionics and dual mechanical control
systems to meet requirements for flight in National Air Space.
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