General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced the near-term availability of two extended endurance options for its Predator® B/MQ-9 Reaper fleet.
“We are continually seeking ways to improve our platforms, making them more relevant for our customers’ emerging needs,” said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “We’ve designed field retrofitable capabilities–lengthened wings, wing-borne fuel pods, and new heavy-weight landing gear–that greatly extend Reaper’s already impressive endurance and range while further increasing its operational flexibility.”
The results of GA-ASI’s recent Endurance Enhancement Study, which was completed on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funds, propose two different field installable kits that extend endurance without costly depot aircraft modifications:
Earlier this year, GA-ASI announced the availability of a new trailing arm design for the existing main landing gear on Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper. This “heavy-weight” landing gear increases the aircraft’s landing weight capacity by 30 percent and its gross takeoff weight by approximately 12 percent, from 10,500 lb to 11,700 lb. The new landing gear is available as a field retrofit to all existing Predator B customers, with the capability subject to export restrictions.
Predator B is currently operational with the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force as the
MQ-9 Reaper and the Italian Air Force as MQ-9, with NASA as Ikhana, and with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as Predator B/Guardian. The aircraft is designed to perform multi-mission ISR and “Hunter-Killer missions over land or sea, with more than 120 vehicles delivered since 2001.
Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
Date: Apr 19, 2012