GA-ASI’s Predator A turns 25
By UAV Canada Staff
By UAV Canada Staff
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. this month is marking the 25th anniversary of its Predator A unmanned aircraft. Predator A completed its first flight in July 1994 and made its operational debut in 1995. The aircraft line remained in production until 2011.
There have now been more than 320 Predator A’s delivered to customers primarily in support of security operations. Predator A’s have flown close to 141,000 missions, amassing more than two million total flight hours. More than 90 per cent of those hours were flown supporting combat missions.
Over its 25-year history, the Predator series fleets collectively have flown close to six million flight hours. GA-ASI is now developing the newest version of the series, MQ-9B SkyGuardian, which, according to the company, is being designed to comply with airworthiness certification and air traffic management requirements that will enable the RPA to operate in the National Airspace System.
“With innovation in mind, we have always looked for ways to challenge the industry standard,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “Our Predator-series has evolved over the past 25 years into MQ-9 and Gray Eagle [MQ-1C], which are the most combat-proven RPA in the world.”
GA-ASI won its first major program award for the Predator A in 1994 from the U.S. Joint Program Office, which was later transferred to the U.S. Air Force. In addition to the U.S., the Predator A was purchased by the Italian Ministry of Defense for the Italian Air Force, and later in a modernized version known as the Predator XP for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
GA-ASI explains the Predator A established its market position of delivering long-endurance, multi-mission RPA with integrated sensors and data link systems for persistent situational awareness and rapid-strike capabilities. The Predator series is often also used for civilian surveillance missions.
“We’re proud of our long and distinguished history of supporting the warfighter,” said David Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “From Predator A, to Predator B, Gray Eagle, Avenger, and their various mission configurations, our aircraft and payload systems continue to address changing mission requirements for U.S. and Allied militaries and civilian users.”