General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and surveillance systems, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with RUAG Aerospace Services GmbH, an approved and certified MRO company for the outfitting and maintenance of civil and military aircraft, to offer the Predator® B UAS to meet the surveillance needs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has established a “bridging solution” for its SAATEG (System fuer die abbildende Aufklaerung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebietes; In-Theatre Reconnaissance) airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirement for unmanned aerial vehicles.
“GA-ASI’s establishment of a working relationship with RUAG represents a strategic commitment by both companies to support the German Armed Forces with a proven, affordable, and responsive solution to Germany’s ISR and defense requirements,” said Neal Blue, Chairman and CEO, GA-ASI. “RUAG’s expertise and know-how in the development, manufacture, maintenance, and logistics support of aircraft systems for the German Armed Forces constitutes a strong complement to GA-ASI’s technical competence and expertise in the design, development, production, and operational support of Predator-class UAS with various integrated reconnaissance payloads.”
“For more than 40 years, RUAG Aerospace Services has been building, completing, modifying, upgrading, and maintaining military systems of the German forces and border patrol,” said Alexander Müller, Managing Director of RUAG Aerospace Services. “This experience and acknowledged competence in the support of aircraft systems makes the company a competent German partner to GA-ASI.”
The MOU contemplates that RUAG will assist in the adaptation of hardware to German national standards, offer guidance and support for German airworthiness certification requirements, and provide logistical, operational, and maintenance support of Predator B after delivery to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Featuring an extensive payload capacity (850 lb [385 kg] internally, 3,000 lb [1360 kg] externally), the multi-mission Predator B is a long-endurance, medium-high-altitude UAS that can be used for surveillance, military reconnaissance, and targeting missions. The aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight 10,500 lb (4763 kg), is powered by a Honeywell turboprop engine, has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15240) meters, and can stay aloft for up to 30 hours. Currently operational as MQ-9 Reaper with the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force and as MQ-9 with the Italian Air Force, Predator B provides unparalleled close air support and persistent situational awareness to coalition forces, demonstrating proven NATO interoperability.