Preda­tor B Big Wing flies over 37 hours non-stop


Gen­eral Atomics Aero­nau­ti­cal Sys­tems Inc. (GA-ASI), a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of re­motely pi­loted air­craft (RPA) sys­tems, radars, and elec­tro-op­tic and re­lated mis­sion sys­tems so­lu­tions, an­nounced the long­est en­durance flight of the Preda­tor B/ MQ-9 Reaper Big Wing air­craft, a next-gen­er­a­tion de­riv­a­tive of the com­bat-proven Preda­tor B RPA.

“This long-en­durance flight demon­strates Preda­tor B Big Wing’s game-chang­ing po­ten­tial for pro­vid­ing life-sav­ing per­sis­tent ISR (in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance) in sup­port of US and coali­tion warfight­ers,” said David R. Alexan­der, Pres­i­dent, Air­craft Sys­tems, GA-ASI. “Our com­pany con­tin­u­ally strives to ex­tend Preda­tor B’s al­ready im­pres­sive en­durance fur­ther, push­ing the air­craft’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties to its full po­ten­tial.”

Dur­ing the flight, Preda­tor B Big Wing demon­strated its abil­ity to launch, climb to an op­er­a­tional al­ti­tude, loi­ter and con­duct re­con­nais­sance ma­noeu­vres, and land af­ter 37.5 hours with­out in­ci­dent. A fol­low-on test pro­gramme will be con­ducted to ex­pand its flight en­ve­lope fur­ther and push its en­durance pro­file to the limit.

Preda­tor B Big Wing also of­fers short-field take-off and land­ing per­for­mance, as well as ac­tive lift spoil­ers on the wings which en­able pre­ci­sion automatic land­ings. Its wings have ad­di­tional hard points for car­ry­ing ex­ter­nal stores and pro­vi­sions for a lead­ing-edge de-ic­ing sys­tem and in­te­grated low- and high-band ra­dio fre­quency (RF) an­ten­nas. An ear­lier ver­sion of Preda­tor B Big Wing fea­tured two wing-mounted fuel tanks and is cur­rently op­er­a­tional with the US Air Force as MQ-9 Reaper ER.

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