Concept Predator validates long endurance capability

If it’s long endurance that matters in the Arctic, the Predator XP might be a possible solution for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s JUSTAS program.

Last week, San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems conducted the first 40-plus hour endurance flight of a Predator XP at the company’s Castle Dome Flight Operations Facility in Arizona.

The remotely piloted aircraft, an advanced derivative of the well traveled MQ-1 Predator, launched on February 6 and landed on February 8, flying at 10,000 feet for greater than 40 hours.

“This flight was a landmark event for Predator XP in that it truly demonstrated the long-endurance capability of our latest RPA,” said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “In addition, it was a new company record for our aircraft.”

In addition to long endurance capability, the aircraft includes a satellite communications (SATCOM) data link; Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS); a full-motion video camera (optical and infrared); GA-ASI’s Lynx Multi-mode Radar with ground imaging (Synthetic Aperture Radar/ SAR), maritime surface search, and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) modes; an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for maritime patrol; and triple-redundant avionics.

The first production XP aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2016.

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