GA-ASI con­ducts first flight of Avenger Ex­tended Range

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE DEVELOPMENTS -

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, re­cently an­nounced the suc­cess­ful first flight of its new Avenger® Ex­tended Range (ER) air­craft, an ex­tended range ver­sion of its multi-mis­sion jet-pow­ered Preda­tor® C Avenger which has ac­cu­mu­lated over 13,000 flight hours to date. The flight oc­curred on Oc­to­ber 27 at the com­pany’s Gray Butte Flight Op­er­a­tions Fa­cil­ity in Palm­dale, Cal­i­for­nia.

“The first flight of Avenger ER is a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment in the evo­lu­tion of Preda­tor C’s proven per­for­mance and multi-mis­sion ca­pa­bil­ity,” said Lin­den Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “The in­creased en­durance and high pay­load ca­pac­ity will de­liver tremen­dous ca­pa­bil­ity to our cus­tomers, who need per­sis­tent sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and strike mis­sion af­ford­abil­ity.”

With an in­creased wing­span of 76 feet and 2,200 pounds of ad­di­tional fuel, Avenger ER ex­tends the legacy Avenger’s al­ready im­pres­sive en­durance from 15 hours to 20 hours. The RPA pro­vides an op­ti­mal bal­ance of long loi­ter in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance (ISR) and pre­ci­sion-strike ca­pa­bil­ity, sup­port­ing a wide ar­ray of sen­sors and weapons pay­loads to per­form ISR and ground sup­port mis­sions. Like the legacy Avenger, Avenger ER fea­tures avion­ics based upon the com­bat-proven Preda­tor B/MQ-9 Reaper® has a 44-foot long fuse­lage, 3,000-pound pay­load bay, and is ca­pa­ble of fly­ing at over 400 ktas. Avenger ER, along with its pre­de­ces­sor, is de­signed to carry pay­loads such as the all-weather GA-ASI Lynx® Multi-mode Radar the MS-177 elec­tro-op­ti­cal/in­frared (EO/IR) sen­sor, and the 2,000-pound joint di­rect at­tack mu­ni­tion ( JDAM).

GA-ASI de­vel­oped Avenger on in­ter­nal re­search and de­vel­op­ment (IRAD) funds with the in­tent of mak­ing a RPA that has a quick­re­sponse, armed re­con­nais­sance ca­pa­bil­ity. First flown in April 2009, the air­craft’s fuse­lage was ex­tended by four feet in 2012 to ac­com­mo­date larger pay­loads and fuel. Avenger re­ceived a FAAis­sued Ex­per­i­men­tal Cer­tifi­cate (EC) in 2016, en­abling it to op­er­ate in the US Na­tional Airspace Sys­tem (NAS).

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