General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leader in Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) technologies, is best known for development and production of the Predator® family of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) that are in operation by numerous customers throughout the world today. Currently amassing more than 35,000 flight hours per month, the GA-ASI UAS have accumulated over 1.3 million cumulative flight hours to date. This remarkable achievement illustrates how the U.S. and allied nations have embraced unmanned aircraft as a means to expand their situational awareness capabilities.
Due to U.S. Government export restrictions, sales of GA-ASI UAS have been limited to U.S. Government, NATO, and other select allied nations. However, GA-ASI has recently expanded its aircraft portfolio to offer two new aircraft, Predator XP and the Griffin EyeTM Manned ISR Aircraft System. Both offer comparable ISR capabilities and were recently approved and licensed by the U.S. Government and are now available to a broader customer base, including the Middle East and North African regions.
GA-ASI’s Predator XP exhibits the same physical dimensions, altitude, speed, and long endurance (up to 40 hours) as the original “RQ-1” Predator aircraft first flown by the U.S. Air Force. Battle-proven since its first combat flight in the Balkans in 1995, Predator aircraft have amassed over one million flight hours.
Predator XP is also equipped with the same communications systems and sensor capabilities employed on the RQ-1. Line-of-Sight (LOS) and Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) data link systems allow for 24/7 operation from anywhere in the world. Predator XP may be integrated with multiple exportable sensors, including state-of-the-art Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) cameras and GA-ASI’s wide-area search Lynx® radar. Combining these highly sophisticated sensor packages provides for day/night, all-weather, wide-area search capabilities, greatly expanding the situational awareness of the ground commander.
Griffin Eye Manned ISR Aircraft System
Nearly two decades of Predator-series UAS production and sensor/data link integration experience has led GA-ASI to expand into the manned realm of flight with the Griffin Eye ISR system. Essentially a “manned” version of the Predator XP, GA-ASI’s Griffin Eye was designed to increase manned airborne ISR collection capabilities significantly, providing maximum situational awareness for troop protection, border monitoring, and vital infrastructure protection.
Griffin Eye consists of a state-of-the-art Hawker Beechcraft King Air aircraft equipped with an Integrated Mission Sensor Payload (IMSP) sensor suite featuring similar sensors that likewise may be flown on Predator XP. The Lynx radar and EO/IR imagery are transmitted to the ground via a high bandwidth LOS data link. A maritime version of Griffin Eye also has been developed with a wide choice of maritime radar systems, depending upon the mission requirements. Griffin Eye provides 7 to 8-hour mission profiles and climbs above 25,000 feet.
Predator XP and the Griffin Eye Manned ISR Aircraft System are available now to support national security missions and protect critical infrastructure for a wide array of countries.