General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced the successful first endurance flight of Predator® XP, an advanced derivative of the mission-proven MQ-1 Predator RPA that has accumulated over two million flight hours since 1994. The flight launched on February 6 and landed on February 8 during a 40-plus hour flight conducted at GA-ASI’s Castle Dome Flight Operations Facility located at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.
“This flight was a landmark event for Predator XP in that it truly demonstrated the long- endurance capability of our latest RPA,” said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “In addition, it was a new company record for our aircraft.”
During the flight, Predator XP validated its long-endurance capability by flying at 10,000 feet for greater than 40 hours. The RPA is a production representation aircraft designed and built on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funds. Predator XP is currently in production, with the first production aircraft to be delivered in 2016.
Predator XP is an updated version of the company’s flagship Predator RPA that has been licensed by the U.S. Government for sale to a broader customer base to include countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South America, and Asia. Beyond its long endurance, the aircraft’s advanced capabilities include a Satellite Communications (SATCOM) data link; Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS); a full-motion video camera (optical and infrared); GA-ASI’s Lynx® Multi-mode Radar with ground imaging (Synthetic Aperture Radar/ SAR), maritime surface search, and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) modes; an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for maritime patrol; and triple-redundant avionics.