Second Predator C
Avenger, Unmanned Aircraft Completes First Flight
By Steve Hall
February 12, 2012 - General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems, a manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems
(UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic
surveillance systems, announced the successful flight of
a second multi-mission jet-powered Predator C Avenger
“The first flight of our second Avenger aircraft is a
significant achievement as it refines the first
prototype design to an operational capability,” said
Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI.
“Avenger provides the right capabilities for the right cost at the right time and is operationally ready today. This aircraft offers unique advantages in terms of performance, cost, timescale, and adaptability that are unmatched by any other UAS in its class.”
flight of the second aircraft in the Avenger fleet occurred on
January 12 at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations
Facility in Palmdale, Calif. Tail 2 met all performance
objectives in its first flight. The aircraft features a longer
fuselage than the first Avenger aircraft – increased by four
feet to accommodate larger payloads and fuel.
General Atomics Avenger is a developmental unmanned combat air
vehicle (UCAV) built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for
the United States military. Its first flight occurred on 4 April
2009. Unlike the previous MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper
(Predator B) drones, the Avenger is powered by a turbofan
engine, and its design includes stealth features such as
internal weapons storage, and an "S" shaped exhaust for reduced
heat and radar signature.
Avenger will support the same weapons as the MQ-9, and carry the
Lynx Synthetic aperture radar SAR and a version of the F-35
Lightning II's electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), called
the Advanced Low-observable Embedded Reconnaissance Targeting
(ALERT) system. The Avenger will use the same ground support
infrastructure as the MQ-1 and MQ-9, including the ground
control station and existing communications networks.
Avenger can carry up to 3,500 lb internally and its wing hard points are capable of carrying weapons ranging from the 500 lb class to the 2,000 lb class. Production of a third and fourth UAS in the Avenger series is also underway, with Tail 3 expected to fly by late summer and Tail 4 by early next year.
With avionics based upon the battle-proven Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, Avenger is designed to perform high-speed, long-endurance, multi-mission Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and precision-strike missions over land or sea.
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