GA-ASI debuts RPA before an international audience

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has launched a Type-Certifiable (STANAG 4571) version of its remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) Predator B product line, called SkyGuardian, before an international audience from the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Australia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and the United States, the company said.

SkyGuardian is the result of a five-year long company funded effort to deliver a RPA system that can operate under the stringent airworthiness requirements of non-military airspace. The aircraft leverages the legacy of the multi-mission Predator B fleet, which has amassed nearly 2 million flight hours. SkyGuardian can fly in excess of 35 hours with airspeeds up to 210 knots, and reach altitudes of more than 14000 meters.

SkyGuardian will be fully compliant with NATO´s UAV system airworthiness requirements (defined in STANAG 4671) and the UK DEFSTAN 00-970. GA-ASI also collaborated with the LufABw (German Military Aviation Authority) to define airworthiness requirements for German Airspace. 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 to satisfy type-certification requirements. It plans to deliver the first production aircraft in 2018.

The aircraft can host a variety of sensor and communications payloads and is capable of transmitting high-resolution video to manned aircraft and ground forces. The maritime patrol variant of this system, designated SeaGuardian, is designed to support open ocean and littoral surface surveillance for border patrol, coast guard, and disaster relief missions.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, an affiliate of General Atomics, is a manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, tactical radars, and electro-optic and related mission system solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide.

The company´s Aircraft Systems business unit designs and manufactures RPA systems, and manufactures a variety of solid-state digital ground control stations (GCS). The Mission Systems business unit designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx Multi-mode Radar and 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 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas.