During a special event at the 2023 Air, Space & Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland, the U.S. Air Force Association (AFA) presented General Atomics’ Chairman and CEO Neal Blue, and co-owner and Vice Chairman Linden S. Blue with the John R. Alison Award. The award is given annually to recognize the most significant contributions by industry to U.S. National Defense.
The award was presented to the Blues by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. (Ret.) David A. Deptula, who is Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Power Studies, and AFA Chairman Bernie Skoch.
Under the leadership of Neal and Linden S. Blue, General Atomics answered the call of our nation by quickly developing the MQ-1 Predator and later the MQ-9A Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft to meet America’s increasing security needs in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Their efforts and vision permanently transformed modern combat.
Harnessing the combination of long-loiter times, high-fidelity cameras and sensors, and satellite connectivity, air crews could identify and monitor targets of interest, choose opportune windows for action, and perform kinetic strikes if required. These new systems delivered capabilities never seen in the history of warfare.
Since 2001, GA’s remotely piloted aircraft have been part of every major combat action undertaken and have contributed to U.S. warfighting efforts in unprecedented ways.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar.
With more than eight million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent situational awareness. The company also produces a variety of sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.