General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced that its Type-Certifiable Predator® B (TCPB) variant completed its first flight test at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, CA, on November 17th.
“The first flight of our Certifiable Predator-B aircraft is a major milestone in our progression towards delivering a RPA that meets all NATO airworthiness requirements,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI.
“The CPB is the first RPA system of its kind to be compliant with an international type-certification standard, and can therefore be more easily integrated into civil airspace operations around the world.”
Qualification testing for type certification will continue over the next two years, with deliveries to the UK Royal Air Force, expected to begin in late 2018.
To facilitate qualification testing, GA-ASI is building three company-owned aircraft, along with two airframes designed specifically for full-scale fatigue and static testing.
GA-ASI began its internally-funded development effort to modify Predator B in 2012.
(MQ-9 REAPER ‘The Deadly Drone.’ Courtesy of Asylum seeker and YouTube)
The type-certifiable aircraft is fully compliant with NATO’s UAV SYSTEM AIRWORTHINESS REQUIREMENTS (defined in STANAG 4671) and the related UK DEFSTAN 00-970.
TCPB will be offered in several configurations, including an unweaponized maritime patrol variant to support open-ocean and littoral surface surveillance for border patrol, coast guard, and disaster relief missions.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft systems, radar, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide.
The company’s Aircraft Systems business unit is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, including Predator A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper® and Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Extended Range (ER), Gray Eagle and Gray Eagle ER, Predator C Avenger® and Avenger ER, Predator XP, and Certifiable Predator B.
It also manufactures a variety of state-of-the-art digital GCS, including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations.
The Mission Systems business unit designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw® sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and remotely piloted aircraft.
It also focuses on providing integrated sensor payloads and software for ISR aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas.