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Fri, Jun 22, 2007

News From Paris: Predator UAVs Hit 300,000 Flight Hours

Over 80 Percent Of Time Spent In Combat

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced this week its Predator UAS series has passed the milestone of 300,000 flight hours, with over 80-percent of that time spent in combat. The milestone was achieved by P-135 on June 15, while it performed an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This particular aircraft has flown over 125 combat missions in just the one year it has been deployed.

Predator series aircraft have flown an average of 8,200 hours per month over the past six months while maintaining the highest operational readiness rates in the U.S. military aircraft inventory. Over the past five-and-a-half years, monthly flight hours have increased 93-percent, growing from approximately 800 hours per month since 9/11 to over 11,000 hours last month.

"Now with an experience base of more than 300,000 flight hours, no other UAS manufacturer can match the combat-proven, unparalleled performance and exceptional reliability of the Predator family," said GA-ASI Aircraft Systems Group President Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr. at this week's Paris Air Show. "Providing essential situational awareness to the warfighter, these long-endurance aircraft systems provide continuous intelligence while engaged in such missions as surveillance, armed reconnaissance, targeting, forward air control, laser designation, weapons delivery, and bomb damage assessment."

GA-ASI has manufactured a combined total of well over 250 aircraft since 1993. The Sky Warrior Armed Reconnaissance System (ARS) will be delivered to the US Army in late 2007 to provide long-endurance, armed reconnaissance for the Army warfighter. In the interim, Sky Warrior Alphas have been delivered and are actively engaged in combat operations over Iraq.

The multi-mission Predator B is in production and provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance/strike capability, with the ability to fly at the optimum altitude from sea level to over 50,000 feet. The all-altitude Mariner UAS provides global maritime surveillance.

Predator series aircraft are in constant daily operations supporting the US Air Force, US Army, US Navy, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP), NASA, Italian Air Force, Turkish Army, and soon the Royal Air Force. These aircraft have been deployed in world trouble spots on five continents worldwide, including operations in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as over three of the world’s oceans.



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