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GA-ASI Celebrates 25 Years

Line of Defence, Winter 2017

An Italian Air Force MQ-9An Italian Air Force MQ-9


General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA‑ASI), the leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, celebrated its 25th year anniversary recently at the Paris Airshow.

"We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our dedicated team of employees, our suppliers, and the many customers and partners who have helped GA-ASI grow as a successful business over the past 25 years," said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI.

Headquartered in Poway, California, GA-ASI currently employs nearly 8,000 people in a business that spans multiple facilities in San Diego, the Mojave Desert, Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, and around the world. Through its supplier contracts, the company employs over 10,000 additional people across the US.

GA-ASI started on April 28, 1992 in the same year that the company won its first contract award for six GNAT-750 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by the Turkish government.

In 1994, the company won its first major program award for the Predator RPA from the U. Joint Program Office, which was later transferred to the US Air Force. Predator is the most combat-proven RPA in the world and continues to excel in combat missions, as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

GA-ASI's long-endurance, mission-capable RPA with integrated sensors and data link systems deliver persistent situational awareness and rapid strike capabilities.

Apart from RPA systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, the company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.

“We are proud of our long and distinguished history supporting the warfighter,” said Blue. “From Predator, to Predator B, Gray Eagle, Avenger, and their many mission configurations, our aircraft and payload systems continue to address changing mission requirements for US military and civilian users. Our Predator B is in service with Allied nations around the world including the United Kingdom, Italy, and France.”


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As part of its mission to develop transformational technologies, GA-ASI has been at the forefront of efforts to integrate UAS safely into the US National Airspace System (NAS). In 2005, the company's Altair aircraft received the FAA's first Experimental Airworthiness Certificate for a UAS.

"This first step in aircraft certification reinforced our ongoing commitment to work with the FAA, along with foreign regulatory authorities, to enable routine UAS operations in both national and international airspace for emerging civil and commercial applications," said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.

The company's MQ-9B SkyGuardian is designed to be certified for a 40,000-hour service life, operate in all-weather conditions, and be the first RPA system of its kind to meet NATO airworthiness requirements. GA-ASI demonstrated its MQ-9B earlier this year before an audience of international dignitaries in Palmdale, Calif. The UK recently became the first MQ-9B customer under the country's MQ-9B PROTECTOR Program.

MQ-9B SkyGuardian recently set a company record for the longest endurance flight of any Predator-series aircraft, flying for 48.2 hours non-stop.

Configured in an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) "clean wing" mode, the company-owned MQ-9B aircraft took off May 16th from Laguna Airfield at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., with 6,065 pounds of internal fuel. The aircraft flew between 25,000 and 35,000 feet for the duration of the mission and landed 48.2 hours later on May 18th with 280 pounds of reserve fuel. The company's previous endurance record was held by Predator XP, which flew 46.1 hours in February 2015.


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